27 professional bodies which received N377.6 billion in 10 years may increase fees

DATA analysed by The ICIR has revealed that 27 professional bodies under 10 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies received a total of N377.58 billion as budget from the federal government in a decade. 

The data was collated from the website of the Budget Office of the Federation.

In June, The ICIR reported the announcement by the federal government to stop funding some agencies, professional bodies, and councils from 2026.

The move was in line with the decision of the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS) and is expected to take effect from December 31, 2026. According to the memo, the affected councils must take full responsibility for their personal, overhead and capital expenditure from January 1, 2024. 

With the suspension of budget allocation from the government, some levies issued by these agencies might subsequently increase. Levies like registration fees, licensing fees, renewal fees, examination fees and membership fees might become the primary source of funding among other alternatives, the programme officer at BudgIT, Damilola Onemano, told The ICIR.

She said, “When the Federal government pulls out its funding, there would definitely be a hike in the fees as we see in fuel subsidy.”

Some of the affected agencies include the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, the Computer Registration Council, the Librarians Registration Council, the National Education Research and Development Council, the Mass Literacy Council, the National Examination Council and the West African Examination Council (Local and International) under the Ministry of Education.

Under the Ministry of Health, the agencies are the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), and the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria will be affected.

Others include the Environmental Health Council of Nigeria, the Nigeria Press Council, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geosciences, the Veterinary Council of Nigeria, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, the Survey Council of Nigeria, the Legal Aid Council, the Council of Legal Education, the National Automotive Design and Development Council, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, and the Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology.

Analysis on the budget

The ICIR findings on the budget allocated to 27 professional bodies showed that in the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the amount allocated to these agencies.

For instance, in 2014, the total amount allocated to these agencies was N24.43 billion. By 2019, the allocation had increased to N37.37 billion and in the 2023 fiscal budget, the 27 agencies were allocated a total of N69.08 billion.

In total, the eight agencies under the Ministry of Education received N178.61 billion, the four agencies under the Ministry of Health got N52.96 billion, and the four bodies under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment got N29.70 billion.

Also, the two agencies under the Ministry of Information and Culture, Work and Housing and Justice were allocated N29.72 billion, N9.28 billion and N35.94 billion, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the professional body under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Transportation, Mine and Steel Development and Environment received N2.37 billion, N25.52 billion, N940.8 million and N12.17 billion, respectively. 

NECO and WAEC received the highest allocation within the years in review. The two agencies, under the Ministry of Education, received a total of N75.21 billion and N35.21 billion respectively. At the same time, COMEG and FRC received the lowest amount in the same decade with N940.8 million and N1.31 billion.

    The data further showed that within 10 years, no professional agencies received a budget of less than N42 million in a fiscal year. 

    Implication on agencies 

    Onemano said that the implementation of the policy might positively affect these agencies in promoting fiscal prudence, the autonomy of finances, accountability, and the inflow of revenue. 

    However, she questioned their sustainability, saying, “How can they survive if these agencies are constrained to what they generated from levies? Which part or services would suffer due to this constraint?”

    Onemano noted that rather than cutting funding; the government needs to merge some agencies together, adding that to control exploitation, there has to be a regulatory body that checks the amount collected by these agencies.

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold the government into account. Shoot him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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