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The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has denied media reports that the Federal Government was planning to slash workers salaries in order to fund the 2021 budget.

Mrs. Ahmed said the federal government is not thinking of cutting wages, rather mulling salary harmonisation in order to achieve pay parity among workers of the same grade.

This she said was against the backdrop of the fact that there are some government agencies paying much higher than others, for staff on the same grade level.

She disclosed this at the ‘National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria’ organised by the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) in Abuja on Tuesday.

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Mrs. Ahmed also revealed that the President had directed the salaries committee to review payroll and also review the number of agencies.

“What government hopes to achieve is to redistribute wages equally across board. Let us bring our salary structure within government agencies as close or as equitable and fair.

“what we seek to achieve is to create fairness and equity and to reduce cost” With this readjustment, when finally done, workers in the public service will earn a fair and equitable wages,” she said.

“We still see government expenditure increase to a terrain twice higher than our revenue,” Ahmed said.

The government had approved a N13.88trillion budget with a deficit of over N5.6trillion, and projected a revenue of N7.98trillion to fund part of the 2021 budget.

The Honourable Minister urged that all agencies must come together to trim their costs, given Nigeria’s dwindling revenue.

According to her, the government would also remove some unnecessary items from the budget as a move to cut the cost of governance in the country.

She said, “We need to work together, all agencies of the government to cut down our cost. We need to cut down unnecessary expenditures. Expenditures that we can do without. Our budgets are filled year in year out with projects that we see over and over again, and also projects that are not necessary.”

“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the salaries committee, which I chair, work together with the head of service (HOS) and other members of the committee to review the government pay rolls considering stepping down on cost.”

She revealed that the government would also review the number of government agencies in terms of their mandates.

Ahmed disclosed that for agencies with the same mandate, the government would look at merging the two.

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