Reducing the cost of governance in Nigeria revisited

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Every so often, the calls for reducing the cost of governance in Nigeria, especially at the federal level, cast a spotlight on the spiralling recurrent component relative to the capital component Reducing the cost of governance in Nigeria revisitedEvery so often, the calls for reducing the cost of governance in Nigeria, especially at the federal level, cast a spotlight on the spiralling recurrent component relative to the capital component of the federal fiscal expenditure. But also highlights the accretion of power and portfolios of the federal government.

The recent call in a newly released report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), underlined the fact that as a result of the expensive governance structure, less than 30 percent of the Federal Government revenue were allocated to capital projects. ICPC’s report validated our op-ed of May 19, 2019, wherein we argued that “the prevailing high cost of governance in Nigeria is attributable to both structural and operational factors”.

ICPC, by advocating the restructuring of Nigeria into six regions as a measure pivotal to reducing the cost of governance, buttressed the growing recognition of the linkages between the cost of governance and a plethora of structural factors.

Bold as this recommendation appears, it is one that has been long advocated by some statesmen, political leaders and policy analysts. In contemplating the reduction of the cost of governance in Nigeria, it is useful to frame the tasks in terms of three concentric circles.

The first and innermost circle relates to the issues concerning the constitutional sources of the current high cost of governance. The second circle pertains to the federal bureaucracy, which includes the ministries, departments and agencies of the executive, legislative and judicial arms of the federal governments, several of whose functions are duplicative or overlap. The third circle pertains to the sub-national tiers of government – the state and the local governments.

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