Senate To Buhari: Scrap Redundant Federal Agencies
The Senate on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to reduce the number of its agencies in order to reduce cost of governance.
The red chamber took the decision following the approval of the report of its joint committee on finance and national planning on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper presented by the chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola.
Speaking after the approval of the report, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, agreed with the submissions of earlier speakers during the debate that the cost of governance was too high and that a lot of the agencies should be scrapped to save the nation’s economy.
He said most of the agencies were created to serve specific purposes but noted that that they were still being retained many years after.
Lawan said, “Many of the agencies were created to address specific challenges as of the time they were created.
“They are now irrelevant and have become conduit pipes that we appropriate money to every year while adding no value to the nation again.
“We need to work with the executive arm of government on this. I know it will be a tough task because some will argue that the exercise would lead to massive job losses but we have to find a way out of the current situation because the cost of governance is too high.
“It is not the reduction of the National Assembly budget that would reduce the cost of governance. There is no money in the National Assembly. Our budget is just about N128bn out of a national budget of N13tn.
“We cannot reduce the cost of governance just by reducing the cost of running the activities of the National Assembly.
“We need to have a holistic, practical and realistic way of reducing agencies and cost of running those agencies that would survive.”
The Senate had earlier agreed that revenue generating agencies were not doing enough to fund the nation’s annual budget.
The senators urged the Federal Government, through the Bureau of Public Enterprises, to examine the activities of all government agencies currently operating under the partial commercialisation arrangement to determine those that may be qualified for full commercialisation.
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to direct the Accountant General of the Federation to develop templates for strict cost-control measures for all revenue-generating agencies of government, with clear sanctions for non-compliance.
It urged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation to device strategies to reduce the its average cost of production.
The red chamber approved the daily crude oil production of 1.86mbpd for 2021, 2.09mbpd for 2022 and 2.38mbpd for 2023 in view of average 1.97mbpd over the past the years.
The Senate also approved that the oil benchmark oil price of $40 per barrel and exchange rate of N379 per dollar.
The chamber agreed that the projected new borrowings of N4.28tn (foreign and domestic) borrowing be sustained, subject to the provision of details of the borrowing plan to the National Assembly.
Other sundry parameters approved by the Senate for the 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP include total proposed expenditure of N13.08tn; revenue of N7.89tn; fiscal deficit of N5.19tn and statutory transfers of N484.4bn.
It also approved debt service estimate of N3.12tn; sinking fund of N220bn; pension, gratuities and retirees’ benefits of N520.6bn
The total Federal Government expenditure of N13.08tn is made up of recurrent (non-debt) of N5.66tn; personnel costs of N3.05tn; capital expenditure of N3.58tn; special intervention amounting to N350bn.