Monetization policy in Nigeria was conceptualized by the Obasanjo federal administration and is a system whereby the fringe benefits and non-pecuniary allowances of public servants as well as those of certain categories of political office holders are transmuted into cash.
Under this monetization framework every allowance or government payment such as housing allowance, car allowance etc which had hitherto been paid in piecemeal at intervals, would now be converted into money for public servants, legislators, commissioners etc.
Monetization policy in Nigeria implies that the Nigerian operatives and some politicians holding sundry offices would now have all their allowances, fringe benefits and entitlements paid to them through their monthly salaries. With this economic arrangement, the aforementioned individuals would, at present, collect the pecuniary involvement of their allowances and fringe benefits en bloc every month.
Obviously, one of the inevitable corollaries of this government policy is that there would be an immediate withdrawal of government vehicles already attached to public officers, whom these policies affect.
Henceforth, there would be a cessation of assignment of official vehicles to the officers concerned. At the federal level, the unfortunate result is that many government drivers have been sent into the labour market and to buffer then from the harsh effects and shock of this retrenchment, the federal government gave out tricycles to the affected drivers.
Also, vehicles are given to high ranking public servants and public office holders who would then be required to pay back the cost of the vehicles given to them through deductions from their pay which after the vehicle becomes theirs.
Apparently, by virtue of the monetization policy in Nigeria, the public servant would be able to chart an economic course for himself. The monetization system gives him the ample opportunity to prioritize a certain item in his scale of preference, which the monetization policy enables him to draw up.
A case in point, is a top ranking public servant who may decide not to reside in government quarters but instead choose to build a bungalow which will even venture into purchasing of shares (from blue chip companies) whose dividend would lead to augmentation of his salary.
To be sure, the monetization policy is all about instilling and implanting a high sense of financial discipline in the public service. It is also about economizing and trimming off unnecessary expenditure, mainly recurrent expenditure from the public servant structure.
It is the intention of the new policy to plug one of the multifarious pipes through which the tax payer’s money that should be used by government in solving pressing problems gets drained. Equally, it is a saintly and subtle invitation of frugality in the affairs of the public service. The former scenario where Madam collects money for fuelling of his official car at will and receives money for maintaining her car as often as possible would cease. This time around, a specific amount would be worked out and given to the officers involved on monthly basis. The infamous and despicable practice of making phony claims, which is prevalent among the hierarchies of the public servant structure, will now be checked effectively.
Furthermore, the monetization policy in Nigeria has come to assist government in no small way to minimize wastages in the polity. It shows that government has just woken up to the unfortunate reality that it had been over spending on frivolities and irrelevancies.
By this policy, both state and federal government will be obliterating the debilitation effects of the financial hemorrhage occasioned by the aforesaid fiscal wastage.
The monetization policy also intends to curb and stem certain excesses in government circle. It goes without saying that most government facilities were being subjected to arrant abuse. In some cases, some posh and ritzy government vehicles were being used to go to private farms as well as carry cement and firewood for private construction and cooking.
At the slightest opportunities, most government vehicles were being used to ferry commuters from one place to another and fares were charged and pocketed into private purse. And the grim effect of using government vehicles for commercial purposes is very obvious. This made government vehicles so used to suffer wear and tear, which led to premature depreciation.
In fact, one of the roots of monetization policy is found in the above mentioned observation. Most of the government drivers even imitate the biblical Jehu, who was noted for his recklessness and furious chariot driving.
Often times, most government cars get smashed and destroyed due to recklessness and lack of caution, as it is erroneously believed that government property belongs to no one. It is instructive to note that the monetization policy is informed by the need to checkmate the monster of corruption that has been strutting around and ravaging our economic terrain. Clearly speaking, most public servants were really exposed to luxurious living.
The monetization policy is an evident appreciation and validation of the ideas of a Chinese philosopher, which runs thus: those who do not economic will learn to agonize.