New book endorses Buhari’s bid to restructure ministries
• Suggests 18 ministries, confirms perm secs, Head of Service, others as political appointees
• Debunks fallacy of ‘Coordinating Minister for the Economy,’ reveals real concept
• Recommends how First Lady’s office can function effectively
AS debate on the expected structure of the Federal Government in the context of cost-effective bureaucracy of the new Buhari administration continues, a new book on governance reform to be unveiled on Thursday in Abuja has recommended only 18 ministries/ministers and more ministers of state.
There have been reports, also that the new structure of government to be announced shortly may have only 19 ministries.
The Guardian had exclusively reported on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, that the President-elect then, was considering only 19 ministries from the present 31.
The report disclosed then that there might be more ministers of state in Buhari’s Federal Executive Council (FEC).
A book entitled: Restoring Good Governance in Nigeria: The Civil Service Pathway, written ahead of the inauguration of a new government, by Dr. Goke Adegoroye, coincidentally deals exhaustively with a strategic structure of the Federal Government and ministerial portfolios that should be instituted by any serious government to save costs.
According to Chapter 13 of the book, The Guardian has sighted, proliferation of ministries and agencies of government have been largely dictated by whims and caprices of a sitting president.
The author, who was pioneer director-general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), notes that it’s by mere intuition of the chief executive officer of the federation that ministries have been emerging.
His words: “For many years, the number of agencies of the Federal Government had been guess work. This may sound ridiculous considering that these agencies draw their funds and power to exist and function from the same government.
“The most authoritative figures are those produced in 2012 by the Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies, chaired by Stephen Oronsaye. The committee was able to identify – ministries, 542 agencies, 50 of which have no enabling laws. Of these 542 agencies, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development alone, for example, has 46 agencies; Education (88) (excluding Unity Colleges), Health (76).
“Among these so-called agencies are the federal medical centres, the river basin development authorities and even the technology incubation centers under the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).
“Each of these agencies and parastatals not only have heads that draw salaries attached to the position of chief executives, the ruling political party has gone a step further to accord them special status by constituting for them individual and separate governing boards. And so, just as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has a board, so do the respective Federal medical centres scattered all over the federation, the river basin development authorities and the small agencies called technology incubation centers, which are under the direction of the super agency, NASENI.
The questions to ask are: What factors dictate the creation of ministries and agencies? How efficient and how effective is our current structure? Are there lessons we can draw from what exists in a few key countries?”
The author, who obtained his doctorate degree from a Canadian university, also lists factors that normally trigger creation of government ministries over the years.
“There are three identifiable factors dictating the creation of a government ministry:
Provisions of the constitution under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy;
Emerging national challenges with international consequences requiring sustained institutional response and accountability by the president;
National challenges with widespread consequences that are considered of utmost important to warrant their being placed as a responsibility that requires direct reporting line to the president.”
Provisions of the constitution under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy
The author, giving a detailed analysis for justification continues: “Extracting from the Nigerian Constitution issues addressed under the fundamental objectives and direct principles of state policy, and matching the mandates of the current federal ministries with the intent of the constitution, what we have in terms of the issues under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy and the ministries with mandates to address those issues are as follows:
That ‘‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government;” in pursuit of which we have Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Police Affairs; Ministry of Interior and the corresponding armed forces and security agencies, namely the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and security intelligence agencies/services;
That ‘‘the composition of the government shall promote national unity” – a fundamental principle in appointment in Nigeria;
That ‘‘the state shall encourage free mobility of people, goods and services throughout the federation:” Ministries of Transport; Works; Aviation; Trade; Tourism; Interior.
‘‘Harness the resources of the nation and promote planned and balanced economic development as well as national prosperity and serve the common good:’’ Ministries of Petroleum Resources; Power; Mines and Steel Development; Finance; National Planning Commission.
“Ensuring suitable and adequate shelter” (Ministry of Housing and Urban Development); ‘‘suitable and adequate food” (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development); ‘‘reasonable national minimum wage” (Ministry of Labour); ‘‘Old age care” (No specific ministry for this yet in Nigeria) ‘‘and Pensions” (National Pension Commission); ‘‘unemployment, sick benefits” (Ministry of Health) ‘‘and welfare of the disabled;”
“Ideals of freedom, equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law and justice;” (Ministry of Justice)
“Opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood and suitable employment;” (Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; Ministry of Labour).
“Equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels, and strive to eradicate illiteracy;” (Ministry of Education).
‘‘Promote Science and Technology” (Ministry of Science and Technology).
‘‘Foreign policy that promote and protect national interest;” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
‘‘Protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wildlife;” (Ministry of Environment; Ministry of Water Resources).
‘‘Protect, preserve and promote Nigerian cultures which enhance human dignity” (Ministry of Culture).
‘Development of technological and scientific studies and enhance cultural values.”
The above highlighted ministries, which have been established to address the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy; constitute the main frame of our government structure, as their existence is the basis of any nation-state. There are, however, certain issues considered important by our constitution, under the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy, which have not yet been given proper attention in government structure. These issues include: Old age care, unemployment benefits and welfare of the disabled.
Emerging national challenges with international consequences requiring sustained institutional response and accountability by the president.
The author argues that the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. was created in 2003 by reorganising many government agencies in response to the terror attack incident on September 11, 2001 (also known as (9/11), as a comprehensive
‘‘concerted national effort to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards where American interests, aspirations, and ways of life can thrive; its strategy is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. to terrorism, and minimise the damage from attacks that do occur.”
Similarly, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in Nigeria has been created in response to the yearnings of the people of the Niger Delta region, who feel that the fact that it is their geographic area that produces petroleum which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy has not improved their fortunes. The agitation of the people of the area had led to the creation of pressure groups like MEND, which have drawn international attention to the plight of people from the area.
“In 1999, Government created the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC) as a mega big-budget agency to address the development needs of the nine oil producing states. The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was created in 2007 to further assure the people of the region of the strong commitment of Government by giving the issue a cabinet level attention.
“National challenges with widespread consequences that are considered of utmost importance to warrant their being placed as responsibilities that require direct reporting line to the President.
‘In India, pension is a portfolio under the prime minister.
Nigeria, as far back as more than a decade ago, chose to have a Federal Ministry of Women Affairs; and another Federal Ministry for Youth. The country is, however, yet to identify child, religious, vulnerable and elderly groups’ issues as critical national issues that merit being accorded ministerial portfolio(s).
“The question that should be asked is: at what point should the nation begin to mold the minds of Nigeria’s young children towards appreciating the engendering commitment to the society they live in? What about the vulnerable groups and the elderly? The current Ministry of Women Affairs appears to have achieved its original intended purpose of sensitizing Government to accord women equitable slots in terms of appointive positions.
“The number and percentage of women in the Jonathan Cabinet in Nigeria is not just the highest ever in the history of Nigeria, it is indeed higher than what obtains in most developed countries, including even those countries with women as Head of Government e.g. Germany, Brazil.
Dr. Adegoroye argues that there has been no remarkable feat for creating a separate ministry for women. His words as recorded in the book:
“However, for want of serious issues to address other than being used to earn the political mileage of recognition as a government that accords women their rights, the Nigeria Ministry of Women Affairs is yet to rise above the elements of the National Council of Women Societies and its associated mentality as a platform for the organization of women jamborees. Indeed, 20 years on, it appears that Nigeria has remained stuck at the level of romanticizing the advocacy rudiments of the 1995 Beijing Platform of Action”.
The author of Beyond Yours Faithfully (2010) takes policy makers and reader through details of how even bigger and richer countries manage their lean bureaucracy. This is part of the analysis:
“Cabinet size and factors determining number of ministries
What should be the ideal cabinet size and what are the factors that determine this number; is it a function of a country’s population size, land area or economic strength? In terms of efficiency and effectiveness, how does our structure compare with what exists in other countries? Are there lessons we can draw from what exists in a few key countries?
“Ministries constitute the main arteries or principal branches of government in a presidential system. In comparison to Nigeria, which has 28 ministries, the United States of America, even with the Department of Homeland Security which was created following the September 11 (aka 9/11) incident in 2001, is government on the basis of only 15 departments – the equivalent of ministries in Nigeria. India has 24 ministries, and the UK has 17 core departments/ministries plus 7 offices. Indonesia has a 34-member cabinet, inclusive of the state secretary (secretary to the government), but there are 4 coordinating ministers among whom 29 ministries are shared.
“The U.S. is the oldest presidential democracy in the world. With a population of 316 million, it is almost twice the population of Nigeria; in terms of land area, with 9,826,675 sq km, it is more than ten times the size of Nigeria. It is the world’s largest economy, with a GDP of $17,328 trillion, which is nearly thirty times the rebased GDP of Nigeria.
“The UK, the country from which Nigeria gained its independence in 1960, has a land area of 243,610 sq km which is barely one-quarter of Nigeria; its population of 64.1 million is less than 40 per cent of Nigeria’s. It however has a GDP of $2,52 trillion, which is more than four times higher than the recently rebased GDP of Nigeria.
“India by population is eight times more than Nigeria. It is the largest democracy in the world. By land mass, it is three and a half times the size of Nigeria. India’s economy is the 10th largest in the world with a GDP of $1,843 trillion, which in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is put at $4,469 trillion.
“Indonesia is an archipelago of 17,508 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited by its 237.6 million people. The land area is 1,919,440 square kilometers (741,050 sq m), 237.6 million. Its GDP is $878 billion with a GDP per capital of $3,468.
“The fact that these countries have, and operate on the basis of, a fewer number of ministries than Nigeria does not mean that they have overlooked certain governance issues. Rather, those issues, and indeed many more that are yet to be identified for focused attention in the Nigerian set-up, are being covered and given prominent attention in their governance structure. It is their aggregation into compatible and mutually reinforcing governance focal centers that has made the difference.
“For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation is responsible for federal highway, air, railroad, maritime and other transportation administration functions; its key component agencies include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Highway Administration (FHA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“It is responsible for planning and coordinating federal transportation projects and it also sets safety regulations for all major modes of transportation.
Similarly, UK Department of Transport has the overall responsibility for Aviation, Railways including high speed rail, national roads and highways, maritime, as well as transport agencies.
“In Nigeria, these functions are performed by four ministries. Accordingly in Nigeria, there is a Ministry of Works, a nomenclature that is an abnormality for a ministry whose only responsibility is the planning, design and supervision of highways construction. The main mandate of our so-called Ministry of Transport is maritime transport; the mandate for the supervision of railways continues to be tossed between the office of the SGF and the Ministry of Transport. Traffic issues are spread across several agencies, from the FRSC to the Police, the VIO etc, all of which are located in different ministries and offices; and there is a full ministry of aviation.
“The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the government ministry responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, water, fisheries, forestry, rural affairs and resource management. In Nigeria, these issues are covered by three ministries, namely: Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Water Resources.
“The effectiveness of public transportation management, the nodal interconnectivity and the concomitant efficient delivery of air, road, rail and marine transportation services in both the US and the UK are products of this type of structure. By contrast, the inefficiency of our own system is certainly the product of the structure of our transportation management system.
“It is also obvious, from the results of the UK structure of DEFRA and considering the expected role of state governments in Nigeria, that greater synergy would be achieved if Nigeria were to adopt, at the federal level, a structure similar to that of the UK for the management of its environment, agriculture and rural development and water resources issues.
“Rather than have a Ministry for Energy, we have placed more emphasis in Nigeria on having individual and separate ministries for: Petroleum Resources; Power; Communications and Mines and Steel.
It is debatable whether our continuous focus on commodity rather than the output of what we require as a nation is not responsible for the challenges we face in the management of petroleum resources, electricity and telecommunications in Nigeria.”
The author notes that: “The reality on the ground is that the core functions of these ministries are actually being performed by their mega agencies, namely, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and a host of other companies in the petroleum sector; the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and now a host of power generating and power distribution companies (Gencos and Discos) in the electricity sector; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and a host of private telecommunication companies like MTN, Etisalat, Globacom and others, in the telecommunication sector.
Dr. Adegoroye says all of these companies, agencies and corporations have their respective boards. What then is the rationale for having separate ministries for these commodity-based issues, other than our usual penchant for wanting to share the national cake?
“A Ministry of Energy would bring all the issues involved in power generation under the same roof, as against the current arrangement which has gas supply under the control of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, coal supply, in the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development, while the focal output, power generation, resides in a different Ministry of Power!
“Flowing from the argument above, it would also become necessary to take a second look at the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in view of the mandate of the super-agency Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The former permanent secretary Federal Ministry of Education warns that if care is not taken, a separate ministry may be created for Boko Haram victims’ Rehabilitation. His argument:
“The current situation in the North East of Nigeria makes it imperative to review the establishment of the ministry. Otherwise, are we going to create a similar ministry for the North East?
Whatever the case, an agency to commence addressing the rehabilitation of the region appears to be something that we cannot run away from in the immediate term.
“However, it would be appropriate to recognize that, apart from the resource derivation angle of the Niger Delta region, the root causes of the issues in the two regions are related and derive from youth restiveness, which must be comprehensively addressed as a national
The author, in other subtitles, analyses through well-researched articles on the controversial office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and the undue attention being paid to the Office of the First Lady. The former Special Assistant to a Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Uffot Ekaette,also notes that the constitution makes the Office of the Head of Service and permanent secretaries political appointments.