Finally, President Tinubu To Implement Oronsaye Report To Prune Cost

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Twelve years after the Steve Oronsaye panel submitted its report on restructuring and rationalising federal government parastatals and agencies for which a white paper was issued two years after, President Bola Tinubu and the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Monday decided to implement the report that has gathered cobwebs in the presidency.

With an economy that is bogged down by huge overhead costs, resulting from a bloated workforce, this decision by Tinubu, which successive administrations before him have shunned since the release of the white paper in 2014, is another bold step to confront one of the challenges that have curbed the development of the country. 
 
An instance of the pain inflicted on the country’s economy by the bloated workforce and the attendant huge governance cost is the annual recurrent expenditure to take care of the federal civil service which in the current 2024 budget alone stands at N8,768,513,380,852. It has always taken a huge cut from the budget of the country annually, leaving a paltry amount of capital expenditure for the development of infrastructure.

President Goodluck Jonathan set up the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, headed by former Head of Civil Service, Stephen Oronsaye in 2011 to prune down the bloated workforce and also cut costs. The committee in an 800-page report highlighted 541 Federal Government parastatals, commissions, and agencies, that are both statutory and non-statutory, and also proposed a reduction in the number of statutory agencies from 263 to 161. Additionally, it suggested the elimination of 38 agencies, merging 52, and transferring 14 to different ministries as departments.

Addressing State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris announced the approved wide-ranging reforms by the President based on the Oronsanye recommendations.

According to him, numerous agencies would be scrapped, others merged or restructured in a cost-cutting measure to streamline government and governance as he also assured workers that the shake-up would not initially affect jobs.

“So, in a very bold move today, this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, consistent again with his courage to take very far-reaching decisions in the interest of Nigeria, has decided to implement the so-called Oronsaye Report”.⁣

“Now, what that means is that several agencies, commissions and some departments have been scrapped. Some have been modified and marked while others have been subsumed. Others, of course, have also been moved from some ministries to others where the government feels they will operate better.”

Special Adviser on Policy Coordination, Hadiza Bala-Usman also noted that the President had consequently constituted a committee to implement the mergers, scrapping and relocations within 12 weeks.

The committee comprises Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of the Civil Service, Attorney General and Justice Minister, Budget and Planning Minister, DG Bureau of Public Service Reform, Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Special assistant to the president on National Assembly while the Cabinet Affairs Office will serve as the secretariat.
 
Key recommendations for implementation include the merger of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission with the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission while the National Assembly will need to amend the constitution as RMAFC was established by the constitution.
 
The Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) is to be merged with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and be rechristened as `Public Enterprises and Infrastructural Concession Commission while the National Human Rights Commission to swallow the Public Complaints Commission
 
Also, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) is to be scrapped and functions to be taken over by the Federal Ministry of Finance and NEMA and the National Commission for Refugees is to be fused to become the National Emergency and Refugee Management Commission
 
Border Communities Development Agency to become a department under National Boundary Commission, NACA and NCDC to be merged and SERVICOM to become a department under the Bureau for Public Service Reform (BPSR).
 
NALDA will return to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and the Federal Ministry of Science to supervise a new agency that combines NCAM, NASENI and PRODA, and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the National Gallery of Arts will become one entity known as the National Commission for Museums, Monuments and Gallery of Arts.
 
National Theatre to be merged with National Troupe and the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa and the Directorate of Technical Aid Corp to be merged under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission to become an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the Federal Radio Corporation and Voice of Nigeria to be one entity to be known as Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria
 
 National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology to emerge into an agency known as the National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency (NBRDA) and the National Institute for Leather Science Technology and the National Institute for Chemical Technology will become one agency.
 
 Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development will become one agency and the National Metallurgical Development Centre and National Metallurgical Training Institute will be merged.
 
 The National Institute for Trypanosomiasis is also to be subsumed under the Institute of Veterinary Research in Vom, Jos.

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