Bamidele Salam, a Nigerian lawmaker, has on Thursday, January 2, 2020, called for a massive cut in the cost of running the Nigerian government.
Part of his recommendation is that federal lawmakers, who are currently about 469, be reduced by about two-thirds.
Salam, who represents Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency, said this can be achieved by reducing the number of senators per state to one from three, while the House of Representatives should be reduced to one-third of its current 360 members. He said the senators should also work on a part-time basis.
“In practical terms, the Senate should be made up of one senator per state, meeting on a part-time basis (to confirm appointments, approve loans, emergency powers etc.) while the House of representatives should have only one-third of its present number sitting as a full-time parliament,” Salam said.
To further cut costs, among the executive arm, states should not have more than seven commissioners while the federal government should have a maximum of 15 ministers.
“Truth is that we can not afford what we currently operate but we are living in denial,” he said.
Salam made these observations while in an interview with Premium Times.
“I support all measures necessary to reduce our cost of governance and have more money for real development. This may include a downward review of emoluments of public office holders, not just lawmakers but everyone holding a public office from the local to the federal level,” Salam said.
“I have always been an advocate of leaner government at all levels. I believe our present structure is not only bogus, it is also inefficient. I am of the view that a constitutional amendment should be undertaken to restructure the Nigerian federation to bring our institutions of governance in tune with our social, political and more importantly, economic realities.
“A country with over 200 million population and terrible social and infrastructure deficit as ours should not be spending more than 70 percent of its annual budget on recurrent expenditure. It is simply not sustainable and the place to start is from the size of our government.”