October 28, 2022

Nigeria can’t keep borrowing to fund agencies with duplicated functions —Reps



•Set to merge ASCON, PSIN

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

Abuja—The House of Representatives has said yesterday that Nigeria’s high debt profile was consequent upon loans obtained to fund government agencies with duplicated functions.

The Green Chamber contended that since the practice was counter-productive, it would not condone it any longer.

Chairman of the Adhoc committee of the House set up to review the duplication of government agencies, Victor Danzaria, raised the concern at a session of the panel with the Director-General of Administrative State College of Nigeria, ASCON, Mrs Cecilia Gayya.

Speaking at the meeting that also had the Public Service Institute of Nigeria, PSIN, and DG, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, Olueabunmi Amao, Danzaria said the country had had to pay so much on agencies with overlapping functions.

He said: “Counter productivity of established agencies is a fact that a lot of agencies led to a lot of loans we always approve as a National Assembly to maintain the organizations. This ad hoc committee is looking at the productivity and service delivery of these agencies.

“Another mandate of this committee is to ascertain root cause analysis of the regular bickering making established agencies government keeps spending money on.

”There are agencies of government that don’t have to enable Act and yet the government still spend money on them. It is tough for this country to keep these agencies, while we keep borrowing money to maintain them.

“Another mandate is to establish areas of mergers, synergies and justification of existence. The truth is that, though you may have your enabling Act, this adhoc committee would determine whether it should be repealed, amended or taken away.

”The justification of the existence of your agencies we have to hear from you. If the service delivery is not there, if Nigeria is not gaining from the agency, why are they existing?  We cannot continue to keep borrowing money to maintain most of these agencies that we feel need to be merged or taken away.”

Earlier, the DG of ASCON, Mrs Gayya, had said the agency overlapped with PSIN in areas of training, consultancy and research.

She said while ASCON had an Act backing it, the PSIN did not, advising that the two institutions could exist side by side, even as overlapped in practice but not in law.

Gayya, however, called for a review of the ASCON Act to broaden its mandate.

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