Nigeria: A Big Fat Inept Government In A Sick Economy


By the time you are through with this day, the Nigerian government would have spent N12billion ($80million). That is beside the point. The point is, of that amount, N3.1 billion ($20.7million) gets “spent” on security daily for a nation that is increasingly becoming one of the most dangerous places to be live in you would shudder to imagine that most of that money goes into buying travel allowances and salaries for the top shots of the agencies. Nigerian politicians are the highest paid in the world. If the money earned by Nigerian public office holders was directly proportional to the wealth of the people, Nigerians would be amongst the wealthiest people on earth. They are in fact amongst the poorest!


75 per cent of the country’s budget is spent on recurrent expenditure which is has over 25 per cent as the salaries of its 460 membered National Assembly.

The Nigerian Senate President earns enough money as salary to pay president Obama’s salary for eight years. While President Obama gets to be taxed on 87.5 per cent of his “meagre” pay, Nigerian public officials pay less than 12 per cent on their fat salaries. Were we to cut the pay of these officials by say 70 per cent, the nation would save about $550 million (N88 billion) per year while the lawmakers would still be earning far higher than president Obama and of course his Senators and indeed public officials from rich countries of the world. Nigeria is ranked amongst the poorest countries of the world in published in the United Nation's 2010 Human Development Report, Nigeria was ranked the 28th poorest country of the world. What is the rationale behind these unsustainable salaries you would ask? There is no rationale. As far they are concerned, the essence of government is to get those in government as rich as possible while it increasingly looks like the converse of that is also true, that is to get those not in government as poor as possible. So far, both are true.


This year, the Nigerian president expects to spend N1 billion on his feeding while also ensuring that his cars and that of his cohorts in the presidency will enjoy N1.7 billion worth of fueling. Recently the government came out to say it was broke and would reduce recurrent expenditure. To prove their assertion, the released a new budget that actually increased recurrent expenditure by N92 billion (well over $600million. There are currently protests across the country to right these wrongs. Nigerians are demanding a real reduction in the size of government while also demanding a genuine deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry even as the government insists on its reform by addition. They are basically transferring all the inefficiencies and corruption of the sector directly as taxes to ordinary Nigerians.


Government has since agreed that it is being held down by a cabal in the industry but have only fallen short of admitting their lack of will to tackle same.

While these continue, government continues to borrow to finance its budget while sourcing for aid from the west too. The sad part of the borrowings is that they are being used to pay the salaries of the public officials that have shown over and again their incompetence at handling the Nigerian economy.


The Nigerian economy may be sick but those who run it are doing so on extremely fat salaries. It is only a matter of time before the sick man either dies or gets incapacitated. The world is watching.