My Salary As Bank CEO 20 Years Ago Higher Than What I Currently Earn As DG Budget–Akabueze

The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, has said that corruption in the civil service will end if government workers’ salaries are upgraded to match that of their counterparts in the private sector.

Akabueze said his salary as bank Chief Executive Officer 20 years ago was far higher than what his current pay at the Budget Office is.


The DG said this while reacting to the country’s high personnel cost and the debate that federal government workforce is bloated.

Historically, in 2021, out of the N13trn actual expenditure, N9.15trn was spent on recurrent expenditure, N3.71trn was spent on personnel costs and pensions. Debt service was N4.22trn.

In the N17.32trn 2022 budget, as of April, N4.72trn expenditure has been recorded out of which N1.26trn was used on recurrent expenditure and N1.94trn for debt service. Capital project was only N773.63bn.

For the 2023 budget of N19.76trn, the government is hoping to spend over N8.5trn on non-debt recurrent expenditure out of which N6.15trn is on personnel cost and pensions.


The DG argued that the size of government is moderate when compared to other countries.

But some experts believe that the public service is too bloated with wage bill and needs to be trimmed.

Akabueze said in an interview on Arise that, “The truth is the overall size of government is not over bloated. However, it is true that in some cases we have too many people in some jobs and we have too many few people in other jobs. For instance, we have too few people in policing.

“Perhaps we have too many people in some administrative jobs. So, in aggregate, what we need to do is to see how we will rebalance this mix. But when you take the total number of Federal Government employees which is under 1.5 million in the country, relatively speaking when compared to other nations, this size is not too large a number.

“Like I said, it is the mix that is the problem and that is why personally, concerning personnel cost is today, the only immediate solution you can have is to retrench which government has looked at as a policy option and concluded that it will worsen the economic situation at this point in time.


“As I said, the rebalancing is then the option, but that again you will do gradually.”

According to him, jobs in the security and health sectors have had no restrictions, adding that it is a way of rebalancing the mix.

The DG added, “When you take the total personnel cost of government, divide it by the total number of employees, on per capita number, what you will come to is a number that is probably about a quarter of what you do in the average in the private sector.

“If we are going to address challenges like corruption, productivity in this economy, we need to narrow the gap between the public sector and private sector wages.”

Akabueze lamented, “I spent more of my life in the private sector before coming to work in (government). It will shock you that my salary today is less than what I earned 20 years ago as a bank Chief Executive Officer.

“On an inflation adjusted basis, then there is no basis of comparison. I am talking about naira for naira. That just give you an idea of how these sectors are. Basically, it just takes us back to the crux of the matter- inadequate public sector revenues; the fiscal problems, the truth is public servants need to be paid far better.”

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