Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Budget - 'Wasteful' FG Agencies Get N200 Billion

About 100 federal agencies that have already been pencilled down for scrap or merger have received a total allocation of over N200 billion in the 2014 budget.

Analysis of the budget by Daily Trust indicates that even though the affected agencies have been described by a government report as wasteful and indolent, provision has been made for them in next year's budget.

A presidential committee on the restructuring of government agencies, headed by former head of service Stephen Oronsaye, had recommended for the merger or scrapping of about 100 agencies.

The report submitted last year said most of the agencies are unwieldy and fueling wastages, indolence and corruption.

The Federal Executive Council approved a white paper on the report in April.

The committee, which was set up to reduce cost of governance, in the executive summary of its report, recommended, among others, the scrapping of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversal of 14 to departments in existing ministries.

President Goodluck Jonathan, while submitting the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the National Assembly, said the government had not rationalised the said agencies because the laws setting them up have not been repealed.

"It had been hoped that significant savings would be made from the implementation of government's white paper on rationalising public agencies. Unfortunately, very little or no savings are likely to be made from the implementation of government's white paper on rationalising public agencies due to the fact that many agencies recommended for closure or merger were allowed to remain partly due to the fact that some of them are underpinned by law, which cannot be repealed in the short run," Jonathan had said.

Our correspondent reports that up to December 19 when the National Assembly adjourned for the Christmas and the New Year recess, no bill proposing either merger or scrapping of any of the affected agencies have been presented to the parliament.

Agencies in this category that received their usual allocation in the 2014 budget are: Petroleum Technology Development Fund N50bn; Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency N6.4 billion; Ajaokuta Steel Company, N3.9 billion and National Iron Ore Mining Company N1.5 billion.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related offenses Commission recommended for merger got N10.2 billion and N4.6 billion respectively.

Others are National Salaries and Wages Commission, N890 million; Nigerian Investment Promotion Council N688 million; Fiscal Responsibility Commission N595 million and National Board for Technical Education N1.4 billion.

National Commission for Colleges of Edu-cation N951.7 million; Federal Character Com-mission N2.2 billion; Gurara Water Management Authority N224.5 million;

Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Manage-ment Commission N382 million; and National Inland Waterways Authority N7.9 billion.

Others are Commercial Law Department N82 million; Centre for Automotive Design and Development N127 million; Standard Organisation of Nigeria N2.2 billion; National Orientation Agency (NOA); National Institute for Cultural Orientation N1.4 billion.

Similarly, the National Troupe and the Natio-nal Theatre got N601 million; National Gallery of Arts N1.6 billion; Energy Commission of Nigeria N2.4 billion; National Productivity Centre N934 million; National Directorate of Employment N5.4 billion and National Research Institute for Chemical Technology N1.93 billion;

National Poverty Eradication Programme N1.8 billion; Federal Road Safety Commission N30.1 billion; National Action Committee on Aids N2.15 billion; Nigerian Telecommunication Satellite N3.3 billion; Consumer Protection Council N685 million and National Biotechnology Development Agency N1.6 billion.

Nigerian Copyright Commission N768 million, billion; Voice of Nigeria N3.1 billion, and Directorate of Technical Aide Corps N2,76 billion and the Rural Electrification Agency N8.2 billion.

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