President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday gave a number of reasons why Nigeria cannot afford to create more states.
Buhari spoke against the backdrop of propositions that creating more states in Nigeria will solve the myriad of socio-political issues facing the country.
According to the president, creating more states will increase cost of governance and put pressure on lean government resources.
Buhari spoke at the third national summit of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on “Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector,” monitored by The Matrix on Tuesday.
The summit which had the theme “Corruption and Cost of Governance: New Imperatives for Fiscal Transparency” was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari said in order not to increase the country’s cost of governance, the Federal Government tries as much not to have too many ministers.
He said, “The rising cost of governance at the federal, state and local government levels is of serious concern. It has been attributed to many factors, not the least of which at our federal system of government plays down the number of ministers for the federal cabinet.
“But the number may rise if new states are created, with all the implications of further pressure on government resources. Ministers must have aides (leading to) further consequent costs on the government’s part.”
Buhari added that, “Over the years, government has created many departments and agencies with the aim of achieving social-economic objectives prescribed by the Constitution. The unintended consequences with the creation of new MDAs is widened workforce, duplication of roles and bureaucracy with the attendant increase of cost of governance.
“Reforms are needed, but every reform has inherent costs and pains. The government will strike a balance to maintain social equilibrium, mitigated the pains of reforms and at the same time reduce the cost of governance.”
President further read the riot act to chief executives and their juniors who contribute to the country’s rising cost of governance by sneaking people into the Federal Civil Service and padding their payrolls, warning that they would be “severely punished” if caught.
“Nonetheless, those who illegally bring in personnel into the public workforce through illegal recruitment, those who pad their personnel payroll and those who retain ghost workers must and will be severely punished,” he warned.