The Unitary System Of Government: Meaning, Features, Merits And Demerits

Table Of Contents
1. Meaning Of Unitary System Of Government
2. Features Of A Unitary System Of Government
3. Reasons For The Adoption Of Unitary System Of Government
4. Merits Of Unitary System Of Government
5. Demerits Of Unitary System Of Government
Meaning Of The Unitary System Of Government
Unitary system or form of government is a system of government in which all powers and authority governance are concentrated on a single central government. Powers are not shared with any other component units but can be delegated to them.
The central body/authority derives its powers directly from the constitution while the other component units have delegated powers while are subject to discretion of the central body. This most unitary states adopt a unitary constitution is known as Unitarianism.
The type of constitution adopted by a unitary government is mainly unwritten and flexible constitution. Countries that practise unitary system of Government include: Britain, France, Italy, Togo, Gambia, Belgium etc.
Features Of A Unitary System Of Government
1. Powers are centralized in the hands of single central authority (Supremacy of the parliament).
2. Power is delegated to other units rather than shared.
3. Unitary system of government is practised in a homogenous state or country (ie country with one or the same religion, language, political belief) etc.
4. The constitution is flexible.
5. The central government may have the power to modify or amend the constitution in the same process used to pass laws. E.g Britain.
Reasons For The Adoption Of Unitary System Of Government
The reasons or conditions or factors for adopting unitary system of government. They include:
1. Common Language Culture: is a necessary condition for unitarianism. This factor helps to bind people together.
2. A small size of a given state is an important factor guarantee a unitary system of government. E.g Togo, Ghana.
3. Strong Loyalty to the central government by the citizens brings about the adoption of unitary system.
4. The central government can adequately manage the functions and at the same time monitor effectively functions delegated to other components.
5. Where there is absence of tribal grouping, no tribe will ever think of dominating others and so unitary system strives.
Merits/Advantages Of Unitary System Of Government
1. Unitary system of government is less expensive to run. There is no room for duplication of function.
2. Strong and stable government are enjoyed by the citizen perhaps due to strong loyalty to the centre.
3. Quick action is taken in the area of decision making and execution because only the central government takes the decision.
4. The flexibility of the constitution guarantees easy passage of bills for faster socio-economic development.
5. It promotes strong national unity due to absence of tribalism and sectionalism.
6. Unitary system does not require waste in human and material resources because there is only few personnel in government.
7. The unitary system as less bureaucratic (absence of red tape).
8. There can be no conflict of authority or confusion regarding responsibility of work since the central government has all the powers.
Disadvantages/Demerits Of Unitary System Of Government
1. Unitary system encourages dictatorship.
2. The central government is over burdened with much responsibilities.
3. In a unitary system of government is kept very far from the people.
4. Local initiation from the people are killed due to power concentration at the centre.
5. Unitary system may lead to high unemployment rate due to no duplication of power and function.
6. The system does not encourage wider representation of the people in government of their country.
7. Developement of the various units of the country especially the local areas could be slow and unprogressive.
8. It brings about domination of the minority group by the majority group.

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