The committees established to look into issues on the implementation of the white paper on the restructuring of federal government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies to reduce the cost of governance have recommended a moratorium on the creation of new Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions (PACs).
The committees, chaired by former Heads of Civil Service of the Federation Mr Bukar Aji, Ms Amal Pepple and Mr Oladapo Afolabi, urged the federal government to direct the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Act establishing it and desist from approving salaries.
The committees also urged the federal government to ensure political office holders adhere strictly to the terms of their engagement, especially in relation to appointment of aides.
Ms Amal Pepple, who is the chairperson of the Committee on Review of New Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions (PACs) said the recommendations of the committee were strictly guided by its terms of reference and focussed on reducing cost of governance, improving cost efficiency, eliminating duplication or overlapping functions and propriety/impropriety of government funding professional associations.
“A major consideration for this assignment was the imperative for the Federal Government to address the drivers of high cost of governance.
“It is, therefore, important that the following critical recommendations are given utmost consideration: (a) Placing moratorium on creation of new Federal Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions; (b) Direct the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to adhere strictly to the Act establishing it and henceforth desist from approving salaries; and (c) Strict adherence by Political Office Holders to the Terms of their Engagement especially in relation to appointment of Aides,” she said.
While appreciating government’s concerns in adopting and implementing the recommendations proffered ahead of the 2023 elections, Pepple said the country needs to urgently reduce the cost of governance, especially at this its critical period of development.
“Nigeria faces a fierce urgency of yesterday in reducing the cost of governance to ensure that we improve the living standards of the populace and not use government as a source of avoidable wasteful spending.
“This is made more pertinent when we consider the fact that the year 2022 budget has a recurrent expenditure of 40.3% (N6.91trillion) and a Capital Budget of 31.9% (N5.471), while the balance is made up of debt servicing and statutory allocations.
“The implementation plan and Key Performance Indicators provides the Federal Government with an opportunity to seriously consider the recommendations proffered as it was designed with considerations for the human angle of implementing them.
“There will never be any better time to implement any reforms because there will always be reasons, justifiable and otherwise for it not to occur especially in a democratic dispensation.
“However, President Muhammadu Buhari’s consistent support for reforms and avowed commitment to leave a lasting legacy places him in good stead to deal with these issues that have been avoided by previous administrations.
“It is our hope that the Federal Government would conclude the review report in good time for the implementation to commence in line with the development timelines for the overall benefit of the country,” she said.
In his remarks, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who received the reports, assured that the President is committed to leaving a sustainable legacy and has demonstrated the highest political commitment by consistently pursuing reforms in all sectors of the the country’s economy.
“Mr. President is also conscious of the fact that, irrespective of reforms in the other sectors, if that of the public sector is not sustainable and internalized, governance would remain far from delivering effective and efficient services to the people.
“The daily galloping recurrent expenditure which is 40.3% (N6.9Trillion) as against 31.9% (N5.471Trillion) for Capital expenditure in the year 2022 appropriation further places enormous burden on this administration to deal with the matter of cost of governance.
“As a matter of fact, the recent approval of increased Duty Tour Allowances makes it more compelling for the Federal Government to take urgent steps in cutting down on cost of governance as a result of recurrent expenditure
“The submission of your reports today gives us an opportunity to move quickly with concluding this almost ten years problem. Like the Petroleum Industry Act that took more than two decades to conclude, this administration will also conclude this and timely too before it becomes embroiled in other matters.
“To take this forward, Government receives the reports of these two committees. For the report of the Committee on the Review of the White Paper on restructuring and Rationalalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies and Commission submitted in 2014, your recommendations are noted and Government’s position would be made known as soon as possible.
“On the other hand, a White Paper Committee would be set up to review the report of the Committee on Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions created between 2012 and October 2021.
“I want to assure you that all outstanding actions to finalise the issue of restructuring and rationalization would be addressed in the shortest possible time,” he said.