by Hauwa Gambo
Stephen Oronsaye wants to save us some money.
So he has recommended the scrapping of 38 government agencies, merger of 52 and reversion of 14 agencies to departments in the relevant ministries – in a move that will affect the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The recommendation is part of a report submitted on Monday by the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies, chaired by the former head of service of the federation.
The report was presented at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja where he revealed that his committee has recommended the reduction of the existing 263 government’s statutory agencies in the country to 161. It also recommended the management audit of 89 agencies capturing biometric features of staff as well as the discontinuation of government funding of professional bodies/councils.
Oronsaye did not list out the
agencies the committee wants scrapped, but he specified the EFCC and ICPC, which he said are performing the traditional functions of the Nigerian Police Force.
He also pointed to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). While it noted the corps’ high performance culture, the committee noted that it essentially replicated the mandate of the Highway Department of the Ministry of Works with respect to the maintenance of safety and orderliness on highways and the Nigeria Police in ensuring law and order on the roads.
“Indeed, it is a fundamental breach of acceptable practice of good public sector governance to create a new agency or institution as a response to the seeming failure or poor performance of an existing agency in order to suit political or individual interests,” he said.
In all, if the committee’s report is adopted and agencies reduced in accordance with the recommendation, government would be saving over N862bn between 2012 and 2015.
According to the breakdown, about N124.8bn would be saved from agencies proposed for abolition, about N100.6bn from agencies proposed for mergers, about N6.6bn from professional bodies, N489.9bn from universities, N50.9bn from polytechnics, N32.3bn from colleges of education and N616m from boards of federal medical centres – totalling over 1.4 trillion naira.
Noting that many governments simply created new agencies without regard to existing laws, the former head of service expressed regreat that, 12 years after the White Paper on the Ahmed Joda Panel Report on the Review, Harmonisation and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Institutions and Agencies, some parastatals and agencies, which government had decided should either be scrapped, commercialised, privatised or self-funding, were still receiving full government funding, which run into billions of naira.
The federal government has, in response, constituted another committee to act on the Oronsaye Committee’s report.
This new 10-member committee will draft the White Paper. It will be led by Mohammed Adoke, Attorney-General of the federation.