Nigeria to merge, scrap, relocate government agencies to trim costs

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Nigeria’s government has approved a plan to merge, scrap, and relocate several agencies to streamline its bureaucracy and cut costs, the information minister said yesterday.

The move followed recommendations from a 2012 report from a government-appointed committee that suggested the elimination or merger of some 220 of more than 500 government agencies.

Information Minister Mohammed Idris told reporters that under the plan announced yesterday more than 20 government agencies will be merged, subsumed under existing ministries, or relocated.

Streamlining government bureaucracy in Nigeria has been the subject of debate for years, with critics pointing to overlapping mandates and redundancies among agencies.

President Bola Tinubu has set up a committee to ensure that necessary legislative amendments are made within 12 weeks to ensure the plan is fully executed, said Hadiza Bala Usman, an adviser to the president, who gave details of the policy.

Africa’s largest economy is grappling with sluggish economic growth, low revenue and rising public debt.

After taking office in May last year, Tinubu embarked on the boldest economic reform program in decades, but his government is now under pressure to cut the cost of governance and improve efficiency.

Although welcomed by investors, unions say the reforms have led to soaring costs at a time when Nigerians are already grappling with sky-high inflation.