High Cost of Governance: ActionAid Wants Senate or House Scrapped

The Senate in session
Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja

In order to reduce the high cost of governance involved in bi-cameral legislature, ActionAid Nigeria has called for the scrapping of the Senate or the House of Representatives.
The Board of Trustees (BoT) of ActionAid stated this in a statement issued yesterday after a review of the ‘State the Nation’, stressing that while it wasn’t discarding efforts of the government in improving the economy, it said much more could be done to make Nigeria better and safer for the citizens.

It lamented that the cost of governance in Nigeria is disproportionately high, and called for urgent action if the government really wants to improve the situation.
ActionAid stated: “To cut running cost, Nigeria must reduce the number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as a matter of urgency.
“The government also must liaise with the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) to slash salaries of all lawmakers and political office holders in order to save money for the infrastructural development of Nigeria especially now that funding the 2020 budget poses a huge challenge.
“The Senate or the House of Representatives should be scrapped as a bi-cameral legislature increases the cost of governance.”
ActionAid added that the current Value-Added Tax (VAT) collection system is ineffectual and porous, noting that spending VAT proceeds on recurrent expenditure is counter-productive.
It therefore urged for more consultations with stakeholders, adding that the proposed VAT increase would hike inflation and put more economic burden on the masses.
It said rather than increase VAT, Nigerian tax base should be broadened, while also insisting on a thorough appraisal of the current VAT regime.
The group also demanded that the federal government should account to the people on how the proceeds are spent.

The organisation was also of the opinion that the proposed 2020 budget has huge provisions for debt servicing, and does not address the high need for infrastructural development given the growing population of Nigeria.

ActionAid explained further that the 2020 budget should capture adequate funding for agriculture, health and education sectors given their strategic importance.

It stressed that agriculture employs up to 80 percent of the population, especially in the informal sector, where the majority of the small-scale food producers are women farmers.

Meanwhile, it called on the ninth National Assembly to revisit and prioritise the sexual harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill, while also urging authorities of tertiary institutions across the country to take preventive measures to protect female students by setting up safe systems that protect survivors and encourage them to report and get justice.