Prof Pat Utomi offers self for service:I’m ready to work with Buhari

PROFESSOR Pat Utomi of the Pan African University has expressed his readiness to work with the government of Muhammadu Buhari, should he get the mandate.

Addressing newsmen on Sunday, in Lagos, on a leaked ministerial nomination merit list involving him and some ex-governors, the Professor of Political Economy described the economy of the country as deserving a “national emergency” and requiring “all hands on deck.”

 He then stated his commitment to work with the “rescue” team of President Buhari for the nation’s progress.
In his words, “whatever I can do to make our country make progress I would do just that.”

Professor Utomi also reacted to questions about unpaid salaries and national debts.
“We have to recognise that we have crisis at all levels of government in terms of paying basic bills like salaries. That is an emergency that we must tackle immediately.

“We need to have some mechanisms by which to look at the build-up of debts and develop ways to make sure that states are more responsible for the ways they manage government funds,” he posited, adding that states should have their debts restructured on a longterm basis, in order to enable them perform basic duties.

 Meanwhile, Professor Utomi, on Monday, advised the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to adhere to public service structure in reviewing public office holders’ salaries and allowances.

The RMAFC had said it was reviewing salaries and allowances in view of the current realities, where the country’s economy was characterised by inflation and downturn in international oil prices, among others.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the development, Utomi advised RMAFC to follow public service structure in its review.

“What I know is that traditional public service structure is what political office holders should really follow.
“Public service is a sacrifice we must all recognise.

“If you want to go into politics, you should know that if you were earning millions in the private sector, the three or four years that you might serve are years of sacrifice.

“When I hear about governors giving themselves billions in the name of pension, it can best be described as scandalous and more than inappropriate.
“We know that it is good to discourage people from being corrupt so that they should not have a troubling life after they leave office, but I think that some of the things I hear as rumour are not appropriate,’’ he said.

Utomi said the public service structure should be strictly adhered to and they should get what other public servants at that level were getting.

Also speaking on the issue, the publicity secretary of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, South-West, Reverend Austin Nnorom, said review of salaries of public office holders required utmost urgency.

“One expects that moderation should be put in place ordinarily; and their salaries should at least be commensurate with what political office holders earn globally.

“Their salaries should ordinarily discourage the present do-or-die politicking that we have in Nigeria, because political office holders are the highest income earners in Nigeria.

“We expect the commission to ensure that this present legislative arm of government immediately begins to collect the salaries that will make Nigerians know that they have come to do business,” Nnorom said.

A Peoples Demcratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives member, representing Surulere Federal Constituency 11, Mr Olatunji Soyinka, urged RMAFC to ensure the review was done at all levels of government.
“We need to cut our salaries; not only that of the National Assembly, but everywhere; from the ministers down to the local government chairmen.”

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