The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Thursday said the creation of the Efficiency Unit in the ministry in November 2015, about two weeks after she assumed office, has saved the country an estimated N91 billion from travel and transport in two years. This means that N34 billion was saved in 2016 compared to 2015 figures and a further N57 billion on same travel and transport in 2017 compared to 2016.
The Minister also said about N24 billion was saved in 2016 on office stationeries and computer consumables, as against the previous year and a further N10 billion in 2017 compared to 2016 expenditure on the same line items.
These revelations were contained in a three-year performance report put together by her Special Adviser, Media, Yinka Akintunde.
Adeosun said the Efficiency Unit was established to reduce wastage, promote efficiency, ensure prudence and add value for money in all government expenditures.
“The thoroughness with which the unit has conducted its activities of monitoring the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, identifying and eliminating wasteful spending, duplication and other inefficiencies and identifying best practices in procurement and financial management has so far resulted in an annual savings for the Federal Government.
“In pursuing its mandate, the Efficiency Unit in its short history has made several achievements engaging and working with key public sector stakeholders.
She said the E-Unit has embarked on several cost-cutting initiatives that have influenced the issuance of circulars to all MDAs by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, and the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.
“The issuance of these circulars has led to curtailment and better management of certain recurring processes and activities relating to travels, sitting allowances, souvenirs and other entitlements resulting in huge savings.
“The E-Unit has recommended to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) the use of debit cards by government officials for payments instead of cash. This would further plug loopholes and improve accountability in spending. It has also initiated some measures to improve the subsisting procurement process to generate savings using government’s large purchasing power, improve transparency in the procurement process, and reduce the administrative costs associated with the procurement process,” she revealed.
Adeosun said the E-Unit helped secure discounts ranging from 5-50 per cent from airlines for local and foreign travels. The agreements with the other airlines are at various stages of finalisation and on conclusion, will save the government huge amount from travels. “It has also helped with the introduction of a Price Checker, a web-based platform being developed with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to provide a portal for vendors to upload prices of their non-customised goods, which MDAs will use for procurement, thereby providing more transparency and eliminating sharp practices in procurement processes.
“The introduction of a Circular on Framework Agreements by BPP (in progress), which will enable MDAs pull their demands for standard goods (bulk purchasing) thereby reducing the administrative costs associated with the subsisting procurement process and securing good discounts from suppliers.
“Harmonisation of the insurance process of all critical assets/liabilities of government for all MDAs (in progress). This will ensure that budgetary provision is made for insurance premium by MDAs and that cover is procured timely and efficiently to avoid undue exposure of government assets/liabilities to insurable risks,” she explained.