Senate plans merger of 700 agencies

Posted by Ahuraka Isah, Sunday Isuwa | 27 September 2019 | 1,244 times

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•Senate President Lawan

A major restructuring of federal agencies is under way as the Senate hinted yesterday of plans to merge over 700 of them the Upper Legislative Chamber described as redundant and drain pipes on the treasury.

The Senate said that after the merger of the moribund agencies, vibrant ones would be created to drive the machinery of government and meet the yearnings of the people.

After the debate on the 9th Senate Legislative Agenda Report, the chairman of the National Assembly, who is also the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, declared that hundreds of federal agencies which do not add value to the people would be scrapped.

Lawan said that the present economic realities in the country demand that the redundant agencies be scrapped to save funds.

The Senate president, who decried how Nigeria produces graduates who cannot fit into the present realities, said that the lawmakers would ensure that the education sector is reformed.

Lawan also disclosed that the Senate would amend the 2010 Electoral Act to address the challenges experienced during the 2019 general elections and expressed optimism that the process of the electoral reform would be concluded in 2021.

Revisiting the idle agencies’ issue, Lawan stated that “over 700 of them are just draining fund from the treasury without doing anything.

“About 700 agencies are draining funds without work to do. Instead of retaining agencies that don’t add value to the system, we have to do away with them or merge them,” adding that the government could create new ones because they are needed.

“Those that are no more relevant we will do away with them,” Lawan said, stressing that all that was needed was for the National Assembly to make or amend the relevant laws and follow up to ensure that the agencies give Nigerians value for money.

On the electoral reform, Lawan, who decried the numerous court cases that arose from the 2019 general elections, said that the legislature would do the needful and finish work on the electoral reforms in 2021.

The Senate president who said they will continue to update the legislative agenda from and urged the committees to see how the Senate would work harmoniously with the agencies.

He said that quarterly report presentation would be introduced to know what the agencies were doing which would be different from the oversight functions of reports.

“We will set agenda for the MDAs,” Lawan said, adding that they would give the Senate a roadmap on what they would be doing for the benefit of Nigerians.

“For example, we will like to know what the ministry of agriculture is doing to uplift our people from poverty. What is its plan for the farmers and fishermen? We should be able to call them in four months or six months to explain to us what they have done and what they intend to do,” he said.

Lawan stated that the Senate would engage the ministers and heads of agencies to know the developments in the MDAs and their plans.

The Senate president who said that the education sector was in bad shape, explained that experienced lawmakers like the former minister of education, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, would be engaged to help in developing a roadmap for the sector.

In his contribution, Senator Dino Melaye called for the immediate review of school curriculum to include subjects, such as civic education, nationalism, and moral philosophy to bind the people together.

Melaye said that budget passage was a major problem that “we must look at.”

“Over 70 per cent of the bills passed in the 8th Senate were not assented by Mr President. This is outrageously calamitous. It calls for instantaneous correction. .

“Ninety-five per cent of corruption is this country is through procurement. The Senate Committee on Public Accounts must be strengthened and must show the political will to carry out very strong ameliorative measures on the issue of procurement in this country,” he said.

Senator Rochas Okorocha urged the Senate to introduce the principle of sacrifice, adding that “we must cut our coat according to the materials available.”

He said that the Senate must be bold enough to ask President Buhari what he wants so that the lawmakers would know what to do. (LEADERSHIP)

Source: News Express

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