A unitary system of government stands as one of the most prevalent models of political organization worldwide. This system concentrates power at the national or central government level, with regional or local authorities deriving their authority from the central administration. . There is no power sharing between the national government and any regional government. Nonetheless, the central government has the power to delegate its powers through delegated legislature to regional or subordinate bodies.
One of the reasons why many countries still practice unitary system of government is the fact that; through the concentration of political powers in one government, it will promote peace, security and a more stable government in the country. Nonetheless, this system of government also has its disadvantages or demerits anyway.
In this article we will be looking at the merits and demerits of unitary system of government. If you are a student or researcher searching for detailed information on the merit and demerits of unitary system, this article is for you. Trust me, you are not going to regret reading this work.
Merits of unitary system of government
1. Easy and quicker decision making:
One of the most significant merits of unitary system of government is the fact that there is lesser authority to be consulted before decisions in the country are made. This brings about easy and faster decision making by the government on critical matters. It is unlike a federal system of government where all the units of governments and authorities in the state must be consulted be decisions are made.
2. Promotion of peace and unity:
Another reason why a unitary system of government is advantageous is the fact that; it tends to bring peace and unity in the country. Since there is just one government controlling the whole country, there will be no opposition of powers, debate or struggle before decisions that affect the government are made.
3. Prevention of the waste of human resources:
It has also been argued that one of the merits of unitary system of government is that, it prevention of waste of human resources in the nation. This is largely true because, the concentration of powers puts all authority of the sate in one government which will make it better and easier for resources of the to be disseminated to every parts of the nation.
However, it will not easy in a federal system of government because, in a federation, different units of the government handle the resources of the state independently of othere. Thus, there is more likelihood of wasting the resources.
4. Unitary system of government removes the problem of constitutional friction between the national and regional government:
One of the problems which unitary system of government tends to solve is the constitutional friction between the national and regional government. In a federation, there is usually no clear cut demarcation between the powers and functions of the national and regional governments. In light of that, there is usually a clash between the central government and regional government in a federation.
But this is not so in a unitary system of government because political powers are concentrated in the hands of a single central government. There is apparently no other unit of government except bodies to which government powers are delegated to.
Now that you know the merits of unitary system of government, we will now turn to the demerits of unitary system of government. Here you will see the reasons why many countries do not adopt a unitary system of government.
Disadvantages of Unitary system of government
Below are the disadvantages or demerits of unitary system of government:
1. The central government are burdened with too many functions and responsibilities:
In a unitary system of government, the central government is usually burdened with so many functions and responsibilities because there is no other unit of government to share those functions with.
This is even a bigger problem it is wrongly practiced in a large nation. It might be impossible for the central government to manage all the problem in the country effectively.
2. Unequal growth and development in the state:
Another demerit of unitary system of government is the unequal growth and development which the system causes. This is so because the central government can not possibly develop every part of the nation at the same time without sharing its powers. Definitely some parts of the nation will be left aside.
Conversely, this will lead to an unequal development in the nation. As a result of this demerit, Unitary system of government can also cause crisis in a nation.
3. Unitary system of government is unsuitable for a multi-ethnic country:
This is another significant reason why many countries jettison unitary system of government. Unitary system of government is not suitable for a multi-ethical nation.
In fact, it is unfeasible to practice unitary system in such kind of nation. This is so because, in a multi-ethical nation people have different beliefs and religion. Conversely, if political powers are concentrated in the hands of just one central government, leaving people at the local level aside, there will definitely be crisis and power struggle in the country.
4. It does not create room for wider participation in government:
In a unitary system of government, powers are concentrated in the center, making it difficult or even impossible for people at the local level to be able to participate in government. This is unlike a federal system because it does not allow for a wider participation of government.
However, in a federation, powers are clearly share and the local government system is employed to ensure that there is a government at the grassroot level. Thus, even if people can not participate in the activities of the nation from the national level, they can still participate from the local level.
5. Slow growth and development of the country:
Unitary system of government usually causes a slow economic growth and development in the country, especially in a heterogeneous economy.
This is so because only one central government can not possibly bring about develop in a country with different tribes and religion.
But if the powers are shared between different units, each government will be able to focus and ensure rapid growth.
For this reason, many scholars are of the view that; rapid economic development is more feasible in a federal system of government than in a unitary system of government.
Unitary systems of government have proven to be effective models for several nations, ensuring streamlined governance, uniformity, and national cohesion. However, they also come with challenges, such as potential regional discontent and a lack of local representation. Striking the right balance between centralized control and regional autonomy remains a crucial task for countries adopting this system. Understanding the nuances of unitary systems can aid policymakers in making informed decisions that align with the unique needs of their nation and its citizens.