The relative roles of the three tiers of government—the federal government, the state governments, and the local government authorities (LGAs)—in public service delivery has emerged as one of the most important topics of open and vigorous debate in the new democratic climate in Nigeria.
There have been increasing calls for intergovernmental fiscal relations to be reassessed in light of a widespread belief that although the states and LGAs are assigned primary responsibility for the delivery of basic public services, they are not equipped with adequate revenue resources to fulfill their expenditure obligations because the bulk of government revenues is retained by the federal government.
The discussion is overwhelmingly centered around the revenue sharing formula that allocates resources from the Federation Account amongst the three tiers of government—currently, 48.5 percent of the resources are transferred to the federal government, 24 percent to the state governments, and 20 percent to the LGAs.1 The sub-national tiers of government are now demanding that their respective shares be substantially increased.
However, there is palpable lack of discussion around whether the current practice of assuming expenditure responsibility and undertaking its implementation is such that a mere shift in resource allocation will achieve the desired objective of delivering better services to the majority of Nigerians. A real issue at stake, which has not received much attention to date, is how effectively do the different tiers of government use their existing resources to perform their functions.
In fact, it may be argued that in the context of the Nigerian economy, states and LGAs receive a substantial amount of resources, with their total revenues amounting on average to over 5 percent of GDP between 1990 and 1999, and over 10 percent of GDP after the oil price increase in 1999. This report will focus on how the federal system actually works in delivering basic services, and whether there is scope to realign responsibilities—both financial and managerial—to improve accountability and performance. The analysis will seek to provide some informed speculation on what could be expected in terms of outcomes if revenue shares were changed without any reassessment of the sharing of expenditure responsibilities.
Thus, it aims to contribute to the process of national dialogue in the country to reach an agreement on which tier is best suited to undertake what expenditure responsibilities and how these should be financed.
THE THREE TIERS OF GOVERNMENT
The government may exist under three levels. This is federal, state and local government. All the three tiers of government exist for and have things in common, which, essentially, are to improve the lives of their people. Their individual and collective power, functions, and limitation and enumerate in the constitution of the country.
The federal government is the highest tier of the government structure. It was formed in 1963, and its founding document is the Constitution of Nigeria. It consists of three branches, namely legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislative branch is represented by the bicameral National Assembly, executive power is held by the president, and judicial arm is the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The federal government is responsible for dealing with defense, internal security and intelligence, foreign affairs, fiscal transfers, customs, immigration, environmental protection, policing, water resources and so much more. It is also involved in various affairs that are mostly carried out by the States.
FUNCTIONS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
1. Nigerian Federal Government Maintains Law and Order
It is one of the most important responsibilities of the Nigerian federal government to make sure that, the Nigerian federation is kept intact by ensuring that, law and order are maintained. It is such duty on the part of the Nigerian federal government that brings about peace and tranquility in the nation.
In achieving this noble goal, the police, the armed forces, and also the court of law, have swung into action with a view to protecting the rights and liberties of Nigerian citizens and its residents within the country. Individuals’ conducts and behaviours living together and within the Nigerian society have been regulated in order for them to conform to the laid down rules and regulations, even as those violating the laws are punished.
2. The Nigerian Federal Government Protects Lives and Properties
Another function of the Nigerian federal government was to make sure that, the lives of its citizenry and their properties are protected. The Nigerian federal government protection of its citizenry covers those living within the country and those living outside the country.
And this function of the Nigerian federal government has provided Nigerian citizens to enjoy the right to life and to also own properties and use these properties. This aspect of the Nigerian federal government function is very important since it will safeguard Nigerian citizens from any threat to life.
3. The Nigerian Federal Government Promotes Democracy and Social Justice
Democracy is reputed to be the best form of government since the system encouraged political inclusiveness and participatory governance. In other words, democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people, according to Abraham Lincoln. And it is a system that promotes social justice. Going by this, it has been the function of the Nigerian federal government to promote the system of democracy, as well as, promote social justice for the purpose of ensuring that, Nigerian citizens fully enjoy their rights, as well as realizing their individual potentials.
4. The Nigerian Federal Government Provides Social Welfare Services
It is the responsibility of the Nigerian federal government to provide social welfare for its citizenry, and so, through the internally generated revenue, a number of resources have been harnessed by the federal government, and revenue gotten from these resources have been used to provide some basic life’s necessity for the Nigerian citizens. Some of these basic life’s necessity include road and hospital and pipe-borne water and electricity as well as, education among other important services, such that would help improve the livelihood of the Nigerian citizens.
5. The Nigerian Federal Government Protects Human Rights
Human rights protection is one of the functions of the Nigerian federal government, and this to the government, is a priority, and so, what the Nigerian federal government does is to make sure that the fundamental rights of every of its citizenry are protected. This is one of the reasons, why there is an advocacy that the Nigerian federal government should allow the judiciary to remain independent in its operations, so as to Carry out its statutory functions without favour or fear, particularly, when any Nigerian citizen attempt to sue for the purpose of redress, when someone infringed on their rights.
6. The Nigerian Federal Government Provides Employment Opportunities
One of the core functions of the Nigerian federal government has been to provide employment for its teeming citizens. The Nigerian federal government will go about this by promoting and providing employment opportunities for its people. As part of this effort, it is expected of the Nigerian federal government to make sure that, enabling environment is provided, as a way of encouragement to its citizenry to avail themselves of such opportunities to better themselves. The Nigerian federal government will achieve this by given out subsidy, as well as, reducing the excise duty on importation and cut in taxes.
THE STATE GOVERNMENT
The state government is the middle tier in the government structure. As there are 36 states in Nigeria, there are also 36 state governments. As for the Federal Capital Territory, it has a ministry instead of a government. Like the federal government, state governments have legislative, executive and judiciary branches. The legislative branch is the unicameral state House of Assembly, the executive arm is the Governor who is the head of the State Executive Council, and the judiciary power is held by the state’s High Court and Chief Justice.
State governments are responsible for everything that is not the federal government’s responsibility, even though sometimes both of these tiers are involved. Among some major state, responsibilities are hospitals, schools, sport and recreation, roads and public transportation, agriculture, consumer affairs, prisons, police and so on.
Functions of the state government
State governments are charged with the duty to make sure the roads under their care are well maintained. The roads and highways in each state are divided between local, state and federal governments. States build and maintain roads and highways through their local state Department of Transportation.
These state transportation departments oversee the building of new roads and the maintenance of intrastate transportation for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The states are also responsible for public safety, as in the case of state troopers, highway patrol, and Texas Rangers.
Implement Federal Mandates
State governments are responsible for the education of their residents. States have freedom in administering the nation’s public education system, which receives the lion’s share of state and local money. The nation’s 15,000 school districts are governed by elected school boards. The power balance between a state government, which provides a large share of education funding, and local school boards, which are independent and make final decisions for how a district operates, turn into power struggles in some states.
State governments also have the duty of drawing funding to operate its programs. States collect insurance trust revenue from administering retirement, unemployment compensation, and other benefit programs. also collect fees, such as tolls, and lottery ticket sales, hospital charges and liquor sales. States levy sales taxes for consumer goods, at 4 to 8 percent, as well as income taxes. The ratio of state income from consumer sales taxes as compared to income taxes varies from state to state. Some states add a “sin tax” on alcohol or cigarettes, while 17 states operate state-run liquor stores. Other states levy inheritance taxes and administer utility services for income.
The Three Tiers Of Government And Their Functions
State governments are also charged to operate a state judicial system. State supreme courts focus on correcting the errors made in lower state courts, passed up through an appeals system, and don’t try cases. The decision made by the state supreme court, however, can be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, when the question is raised as to whether the state court acted in line with the U.S. Constitution. Each state is free to structure their court system, and to decide whether judges are elected or appointed, in accord with the individual state constitutions
The local government
Local government is the lowest tier in the government structure. You might not know this, but there are actually 774 local government areas (LGAs) in Nigeria, meaning that there are 774 local governments in the country, each administered by a Local Government Council. They all vary in character and size. Every LGA is further divided into wards. Local governments are responsible for small local matters, such as public health, waste disposal, local roads and footpaths, parks, libraries, tax collection and so on.
When it comes to larger projects, local government work with their state government to achieve results. However, this tier of government is meant to bring power closer to the people. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, local governments struggle from the lack of autonomy from the state governments, as well as from the lack of funds. That was a quick overview of the three tiers of government in Nigeria. Now you know that there is the federal government, 36 state governments, and 774 local governments, each laden with their own functions and responsibilities that sometimes overlap. We hope that you have been able to learn something new about the workings of your country
Functions of the local government
- The functions and tasks of the local government are prescribed in the Nigerian constitution of 1999. Representatives of this organization collect taxes, work with tele-broadcasting and radio, transport licenses, cemeteries and provide houses for the people in need.
- The local government should ensure order in the markets, provide citizens with amenities, service roads, streets, drains, public places and build new facilities when necessary.
- It is responsible for waste removal, evaluation of residential properties for further tax collection and birth, death and marriage registrations.
- It monitors the activities of small organizations like restaurants, shops, bakeries, kiosks, and other places where food and beverages are sold.
- In addition, functions of local authorities include ensuring the proper functioning of the educational system, the agricultural sector and natural sphere except for mining operations. Attention is also given to medical care and other duties that can be prescribed by a higher government. In order to achieve positive results in Nigeria, it is extremely important to deal with the problem of corruption; it is also necessary to take into account the interests and needs of the general population. The proper management of money will lead to a prosperous life of people in various regions of Nigeria.
- consequencely , Local governments play a key role in public education in the U.S. From kindergarten to community college, local governments, along with states, provide the primary funding for public schools, using money largely raised through state and local taxes. Local governments at all levels decide education policy, including county, city, town, and district. Their task is to make critical decisions about funding and pedagogy while serving as a channel between local communities and state education departments.
In conclusion, all the tiers of government should work together for the common growth and development of the country. close co-operation between the three levels of government, and between government and private enterprise, is essential if the transport network is to keep pace with the growth of the transport task;