Budgetary reform for optimal-performance of next President – Part 2
What will thus emerge will bean administrative procedure for effectively controlling and deploying the Civil Service towards the optimal performance of the Government in public service delivery. Hence, that large complex organization called, ‘Federal Government of Nigeria’, which must measure success in terms of improvement in the quality of livelihood of the Citizenry, would have acquired the requisite instrument for doing a first-class job of public service administration. Ultimately, the endemic public cynicism and perception of Governance in Nigeria as morbidly corruptive and unresponsive, chaotic and uncontrollable would begin to fade away and gradually disappear into the horizon.
Functional Elements of the Reform
Achieving the institutional structure of this budgetary reform will depend squarely on the willingness and capacity of the President and leadership of the National Assembly to initiate five instrumental administrative processes for actualizing the optimal-performance of the Government in public service delivery.
Central coordination of the budgetary activity from the Office of the President as a systemic response to the growth of administrative discretion rooted in the strength and status of the President as the only elected chief executive officer of Federal Governance in Nigeria responsible only to the representative organ of we the Sovereign, that is, the National Assembly.
Clarification of all agency-funding-requests in terms of not only program categories but also efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative performance of the specific agency to surmount the problems associated with Government resort to, “speculative and provisional fiscal forecasting”.
Constant and consistentmonitoring and evaluation of all Government spending for easy identification of their sources and uses through a coherent decision-making process, to surmount the problems associated with, “spontaneous and sporadic administrative decision-making” and “inability to track public spending and assess policy impacts in the light of their set objectives”.
Decentralization and opening up of National Assembly appropriation practice through structural and procedural innovations for asserting the initiative of the Legislators vis-à-vis the President in Government budgetary matters.
Presidential submission of three-budgetary-documents to the National Assembly within the course of each year, namely; Executive-Budget-Proposal (by proxy), Mid-Year-Performance-Evaluation-Report (by proxy) and Year-End-Performance-Evaluation-Report, a.k.a., “State-of-Nigeria-Address” (in person).
Benefits of the Reform
The guaranteed product of this budgetary reformis a self-contained administrative machinery for dealing with all the known impediments to the optimal performance of successive Nigerian Federal Governments in public service delivery.
trengthening of the power of the President to checkmate the pursuit of unethical tendencies by Civil Servants through the centralization of budgetary decision-making authority in the Office of the President;
Strengthening of the power of the National Assembly over Government spending through the independent capability of the Legislators to do their own budgeting.
Institutionalization of the need for aligning Government Vision with the social aspirations of the Citizenry to eliminate ‘tunnel-vision’ from our Governance;
Prosecution of the anti-corruption crusade from a proactive, problem-recognition, definition and prevention approach when compared to the prevailing reactive, problem-solving approach of the EFCC, ICPC and like agencies;
Democratization of our Governance to check the ills of impunity and ineptitude; Transformation of the budgetary activity from its existing ‘document’ orientation to ‘action’ focus, to shift attention of the requisite officials from mere ‘budget-preparation’ to ‘effecting desirable changes in society’;
Passage of Appropriation Acts before the beginning of the year to which they relate;
Full (100%) implementation of budgetary objectives;
Drastic reduction in the recurrent-expenditure aspect of the fiscal-component of the budget through an equally drastic reduction of the Government workforce.
Restriction of Government participation in social production (a.k.a., ‘economy’) to purely facilitator/regulator of entrepreneurial initiative;
Generation of mass employment through an invigorated private enterprise sector; and
Diversification of social production through the forward and backward linkage of the agricultural and industrial/manufacturing sectors.
Instance of the Successful Application of this Reform
It was on the crest of this budgetary reform initiative that President Bill Clinton rode to successfully transform the US Society then reeling under upward spiralling unemployment and crime rates, sub-standard and discriminatory educational, health-care and tax systems, and budgets that were bedevilled by huge fiscal deficits with an attendant debt burden totalling $4 trillion (less interest payments).
Within the space of his two four-year terms, President Clinton had created over twenty million new jobs that generated: lowest unemployment rate and smallest welfare rolls in thirty years; lowest crime rate in twenty-five years; lowest poverty rate in twenty years; smallest federal work force in forty years (shrunk by over 300,000 positions); first four consecutive fiscal surpluses; and longest economic expansion in US history. The huge increase in productivity and historic rise in employment and health-care access translated into higher middle-class incomes that boosted payrolls, profits and tax revenues. This bred a unique combination of economic-success, social-solidarity and public-confidencethat ushered the US into the 21st century with shared benefits and responsibilities, and equal-participation in a democratic society.
To be continued tomorrow
Ejikonye Ph.D, is a specialist in Public Budgeting (Abuja).