The Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance on Wednesday said the government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies spent a total of N825bn on travels, maintenance, local and international training, welfare and office stationery/computer consumables between 2012 and 2014.
According to the unit, the average amount expended annually on the five items during the period was N275bn, while the estimates for 2015 show a continuation of the trend.
Due to the huge amount spent on the items, the unit said it was planning to introduce detailed price guidelines to ensure value for money in procurement by the MDAs, adding that the use of ministerial debit cards was being piloted to reduce the incidence of cash handling.
The unit, which carried out an extensive and detailed review of the overhead expenditure data of the government for the period 2012 to 2014, found that the spending pattern was concentrated on a limited number of items.
Speaking at a media forum in Lagos on Wednesday, the Head of the Efficiency Unit, Ms Patience Oniha, said, “The cumulative expenditure on these five items was N825bn, representing 61 per cent of the cumulative total overhead expenditure of N1,353bn for 2012 to 2014.
“This means that the average amount expended annually on these five items during this period was N275bn. The estimates for 2015 shows a continuation of this trend. Overhead spending exceeded allocations to capital in all the years reviewed.
“Another finding from the review was the large expenditure on honoraria and sitting allowances, refreshment and meals, books, fuel, publicity and adverts.”
In relation to procurement, which has been identified as a major source of potential savings for the government, Oniha said the unit had prepared a list of goods and services regularly being procured by the MDAs.
By pooling the demand of the MDAs together, she said there would be opportunities to leverage the resultant bargaining power and secure price discounts and other benefits from suppliers, adding that the strategy would deliver savings and reduce the administrative costs inherent in the current fragmented procurement process.
Oniha said, “Developed countries such as the USA, UK, Canada and Hong Kong have used this strategy successfully to manage their expenditure. Within Nigeria, large and diversified private sector organisations manage their procurement in a similar manner.
“As a country, Nigeria should be no exception, more so when resources need to be managed tightly to promote spending on capital projects such as infrastructure.”
She added that the unit had initiated discussions with suppliers of air travel services for the purpose of price negotiation, noting that this expenditure area was prioritised because local and international travels represented the single largest overhead expenditure item in the period under review, with an average of N83bn annually.
This, according to her, will present a potential savings opportunity of N4.14bn annually at an estimated price discount of five per cent.
For honoraria and sitting allowances on which about N13bn is being spent annually, the unit has also identified potential for cost savings.
Oniha gave an assurance that with the support of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the unit would pursue the implementation of its recommendations to deliver cost savings to the government, while it would continue its engagement with stakeholders in order to achieve its objectives.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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