By NBF News

THE Presidential Advisory Council, PAC, yesterday, expressed concern over the increasing high cost of governance and advised President Goodluck Jonathan to reduce the number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.

PAC, in its recommendation, wants government to begin the process of merging and reduction of federal ministries and other government agencies to cut down on unnecessary government spending.

Finance Minister, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, had in September 2010, set up a committee to review the expenditure cut.

Nigeria has 29 ministries including the National Planning Commission and National Sports Commission, which function as ministries and for which ministers are appointed. There are also 14 federal agencies as provided for in the 1999 Constitution excluding ad-hoc bodies and panels that are raised from time to time.

On federal public servants alone, the Federal Government spends N200 billion yearly on emoluments.

Infrastructure development
Fielding questions from State House Correspondents shortly after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, PAC Chairman, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), said the cut down in government agencies would allow for more funds for government's spending on infrastructure development.

Danjuma, who led other members of PAC to the meeting, said one of the suggestions made to President Jonathan at the meeting was 'reducing the number of ministries and where there are functions they should be rationalized.'

The PAC chairman who maintained that boosting the nation's economy was paramount to the committee added that the government had assured them 'that most of the points we raised are already being addressed by government and we have been promised that we shall have a feedback from government and even if necessary we shall be involved in finding remedies to all the issues we have raised.'

He urged Nigerians to be patient with the government on the issue of the economy stressing that 'it wasn't necessary to demand for a time tag, these things will take a long time.'

Govt spends N15.6 trn on public servants since 1999

Vanguard investigations revealed that as of December 31, 2010, the three tiers of government in Nigeria would have spent N15.6 trillion or more on public servants, since May 1999.

This accounts for about 29.94 per cent of the N52.103 trillion spent by the three tiers of government within the period or 49.90 per cent of the estimated N31.26 trillion recurrent budget.

According to experts, the governments spend an average of 40 per cent of annual budgets on capital projects. In essence about N20.84 trillion had been allocated to capital expenditures within the period.

The N52.103 trn expenditure
Federal Government Appropriations since 1999 are as follows: 1999 (N524 billion); 2000 (N702 billion); 2001 (N894 billion); 2002 (N1.064 trillion); 2003 (N1.446 trillion); 2004 (N1.189 trillion); 2005 (N1.80 trillion); 2006 (N1.90 trillion); 2007 (N2.30 trillion); 2008 (3.58 trillion); 2009 (3.76 trillion) and 2010 (N4.427 trillion); totaling N22.586 trillion.

The states budgeted six trillion naira between 1999 to 2004 and between 2005 and 2010, they spent N16.467 trillion (2005, N1.21 trillion; 2006, N1.76 tn; 2007, N1.92; 2008, N3.143 tn; 2009, N3.944 tn; and 2010, N4.49 tn), totalling N22.586 trillion.

Since 1999, the local councils have received N7.05 trillion as statutory allocation. In the eight years up to 2007, the third tier of government received N3.3 trillion. In 2008, the councils got N1.05 trillion as statutory allocations and about N1.2 trillion in 2009.

According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Government expects N6.04 trillion in revenue in 2010 and the Local Councils are expected to get about N1.5 trillion as statutory allocation.

The N52.103tn excludes local councils' internally generated revenues, IGR.

How govt spent N15.6 trn on public servants
Immediate past Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Hamman Tukur said in July 2009 that the country spends N1.3 trillion yearly on the emoluments of the Federal, 36 states and 774 local councils' political, public and judicial office holders.

Of the N1.3 trillion national wage bill, Tukur said that the local councils spends 53 per cent, the 36 state governments accounts for about 32 per cent while the Federal Government spends 15 per cent.

Composition of public servants
The composition of Nigeria's public servants is as follows: Federal Executive, 472; Federal Lawmakers, 469; State Executives, 2664; State Lawmakers, 1,152; Council Executives, 3096; Council Lawmakers 8692; and Federal/State Judiciary, 934 giving a total of 17,474.

Federal, state and council expenditure on public servants

Section                                  Amount (N billions)

Federal  Govt                               200
State Govt                                    420
Local Govt                                    690
Total                                         1.31 trillion