The Federal Government has begun the process of reducing the number of parastatals and government agencies in Nigeria, in order to cut the cost of governance.
This has been initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari, who ordered the review of the Federal Government White Paper on Rationalization of Government Parastatals and Agencies to reduce the cost of governance in the country.
It was disclosed by the President during his national broadcast to mark this year’s Democracy Day, on Friday in Abuja. He said that the review had become imperative, in view of the country’s dwindling resources and rising cost of governance.
The President said, “In the face of dwindling resources and rising cost of governance, I have authorized that the white paper on the rationalization of government parastatals and agencies be reviewed for implementation.”
He however, promised to continue to give all necessary support for ongoing reforms, designed to restore discipline, integrity, and patriotism in the public service as it remains the bedrock for the formulation and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in the country.
The president observed that his administration had continued to implement accountable and transparent policies through the Open Government Partnership and the transparency portal on financial transactions.
He added that the government had also strengthened auditing and accountability mechanisms so as to ensure that rules and regulations were followed strictly.
It can be recalled that the Presidential Committee on the Reform of Government Agencies, which was set up by the former President Goodluck Jonathan and chaired by the former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye, recommended the reduction of parastatals and statutory agencies of government from 263 to 161.
The report had disclosed that the average cost of governance in Nigeria is believed to rank among the highest in the world. It was also reported that the Federal Government wanted to conclude the process of implementation of the report by October 2020.
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President Buhari has been under pressure since he assumed office in 2015 to implement the report. This is in line with his electoral promise to run a lean government and eliminate wastage in governance.
However, for this to be effectively implemented, the legislature will have to amend or repeal some of the laws establishing some of these parastatals or government agencies that might be affected in this exercise.