Nigeria — The establishment of the Efficiency Unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance is one of the pivotal policies of the current administration for moderating the government’s Overhead Expenditure and ensuring that the government derives maximum value for its spending.
Speaking during a recent media roundtable event in Abuja organised to provide an update on the activities of the Unit and its proposed strategies, Ms. Patience Oniha who is the Head of the Unit, recalled that the need to ensure that the government’s resources are judiciously used in a cost efficient manner that would also result in savings for government were the primary reasons why the Efficiency Unit was established.
At the briefing, Ms Oniha informed the members of the media that thus far, the Efficiency Unit had focused primarily on the aspect of its mandate which has to do with procurement where the potentials for savings are not only high but achievable within a relatively short time. For this purpose, the Unit has reviewed the Overhead Expenditure of the government in fine details to identify potential areas of savings from procurement. The strategy to be deployed would be to use the government’s large purchasing power to negotiate favourable terms with suppliers. The overriding objective is “Doing more with Less”. She added that the implementation of the second aspect of the Unit’s mandate which is the review of work practices and processes to eliminate waste and duplications will commence thereafter.
Explaining further, she stated that the savings and funds that will be realised from the cost-cutting initiatives of the Efficiency Unit will become available for financing capital projects such as infrastructure. She stated that all Nigerians would benefit from the government’s increased investment in infrastructure which has immense multiplier benefits such as: creating jobs, increasing domestic production (by extension, Gross Domestic Product), attracting foreign investors and overall improvement in the quality of life for Nigerians.
She stated that other benefits of having a Unit dedicated to cost cutting and generating savings are that because it is internal to government and involves all the MDAs, it has significant direct and indirect lasting benefits such as learning opportunities, change in culture and continuity of the efficiency initiatives. Ms Oniha gave examples of advanced and developing countries where this approach has been successfully deployed with demonstrable success.