The All Progressives Congress (APC) government should pay all federal salary arrears of N400 billion and fuel subsidy arrears of about N200billion in order to avoid possible mass labour unrest which could undermine its goodwill, the APC Transition Committee 2015 advised in its First Interim Report, the executive summary of which has been obtained by SaharaReporters.
The 19-man panel, led by former Permanent Secretary Ahmed A. Joda, said in the report, which was handed over to then President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari one week before his inauguration, that it estimated the incoming government’s total liabilities to be N4.1 trillion.
Of that sum, it recommended that the federal salary and fuel subsidy arrears be paid immediately.
Reviewing the economy, the committee expressed regret that Nigeria has consistently squandered the opportunity to consolidate its position as one of the leading economies in the world, observing that she remains characterized by poor governance, pervasive corruption and polarized wealth.
“The APC ran on a campaign of transformative change, offering Nigerians an alternative to the status quo,” it recalled. “Upon assuming the mantle of leadership, it is imperative that an APC government begins to proffer immediate solutions to the above constraints, which will lead to a more liberalized and productive economy, job creation and reduced levels of poverty.”
With reference to the N4.1billion deficit, the panel recommended that the government borrow in the short term to address the liquidity challenges. Among others, it asked the government to raise its bonds immediately (within 30 days), and blocking major leakages (within 60 days).
The government is now 30 days old.
On the insecurity in the northeast, it asked the government to carry out a thorough assessment of the counter-insurgency measures now in place, and to develop a clear roadmap for decisively ending it and restoring normalcy. The panel had harsh words for Nigeria’s military, which it described as having “demonstrated incapacity” to handle the challenge.
“This could be traced to lack of coordination at the Defence and Service Headquarters. The Joint Task Force set up by the Chief of Defence Staff was ineffective due to power play,” it said, describing infighting and a breakdown of unity within the armed services.
“The lack of command and control, lack of campaign planning, ill prepared leadership, inadequate equipment, led to low morale of a force that was hitherto celebrated in both internal and international operations,” it concluded.
The new government, it emphasized, must demonstrate the political will to end the insurgency and also enable the internally-displaced to return to their homes.