As Tinubu Revisits Oronsaye’s Report

THERE are three distinctive idiosyncratic natures of a revolutionary leader. These are the possession of a sharp altruistic vision; willingness to positively change the narrative of the political system; and the exercise of the political will to deviate from an unprofitable norm to the benefit of the nation. We observe that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is demonstrating these uncommon characteristics with his acts, and most recently, the revisitation of the Oronsaye report. The Stephen Oronsaye Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies which submitted its report twelve years ago was set up amidst the concerns that the nation’s running cost was gulping about 80% of its revenue, thereby leaving less for development. A bloated Civil and Public Service were identified as the inbuilt devourer of the nation’s resources, hence the need to reduce public expenditure.

THE 800-page Oronsaye report had recommended a reduction of  263 of the then statutory agencies to 161; thirty-eight agencies be scrapped; fifty-two be merged and fourteen be reverted to departments in various ministries, among others. However, the Presidency had hinted that thirty federal government agencies, commissions, and parastatals would either be scrapped, merged, or subsumed. In summary, the agencies to be scrapped (2); merged (15); to be subsumed (9) and to be relocated (4).

WHILE The Hope  commends the Presidency for the declaration and the immediate announcement of a committee to accept this task, we warn that Nigerians are still skeptical of the President’s political will to go all the way in matching his words with conclusive actions. This is given that in the time past, the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari had paid only lip service to its implementation and likewise the Goodluck Jonathan administration despite the euphoria, and media promotion towards its fruitless implementation drives. However, THE HOPE strongly believes that a President who did not bate an eyelid in the removal of the deified fuel subsidy would also ensure that the report is truly implemented.

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HOWEVER, we, like many other Nigerians are concerned that a factual method of restructuring the Federal Government agencies and commissions to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency, laying fallow for more than a decade in a country with high volatility rate might need an updated version. While the report focused on about 350 agencies, the figures have over the years skyrocketed to about 1300, making it an Augean stable. Thus, we recommend that the implementation committee should still extend their searchlights into the other MDAs to identify those with synonymous and overlapping functions, and thus include them in this reform. That would make allowance for the expected impact of the implementation of this reform on Nigeria’s dwindling economy. Besides, this would also put the nation in the good books of BrettonWood’s institutions (World Bank and IMF), which had always insisted on the reduction of cost of governance.

IN this light, The Hope given this development, and the economic downtown of the nation, is uncomfortable with the idea of having 48 Ministers who also have numerous aides. The reduction of these Ministers would reduce more overhead costs, while also ensuring that the remaining ones put in their best for higher productivity. Furthermore, the Nigeria constitution may change to adopt the unicameral legislation which reduces cost and enhances fast passages of bills. In addition to these, it would be imperative for the President to also reduce the number of aides on the nation’s payroll. Often, appointment of aides has been a settlement scheme rather than job creation for Nigerians. Good and impactful job creation, is such that ensures that the employed would not only contribute immensely to the nation’s GDP but would also create more entrepreneurs that can employ more and thus reduce the poverty levels in the country. Political appointees are also encouraged to do away with their excesses and make sacrifices for the development of this nation.

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DEVELOPMENT, however, also comes with displacement, therefore it would be insincere and an act of burying our heads in the sand if the fear of job losses raised by Labour is brushed aside. There would be retirements, we however implore the government to redeploy affected staff to their areas of competence in various ministries and parastatals that are currently understaffed. With innovations and retraining, some of the affected workers can also be made more productive to the benefit of the nation in general.

WHILE we strongly hope that the implementation of this report would be conclusive, all Nigerians and politicians should ensure that government receives a supportive hand in making this nation a pride to many.

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