The full implementation of the Stephen Oronsaye report may not be feasible under the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari, a dependable and senior presidency source has revealed to DECENCY GLOBAL NEWS.
This, the source said was premised on the current election mood of the key stakeholders involved, coupled with the body language of the National Assembly.
Submitted in 2012, the Oronsaye report on public sector reforms revealed that there were 541— statutory and non-statutory — Federal Government parastatals, commissions, and agencies.
A year earlier, the then-President, Goodluck Jonathan, set up the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, under the leadership of a former Head of Civil Service, Stephen Oronsaye.
The 800-page report recommended that 263 of the statutory agencies be slashed to 161; 38 agencies be scrapped; 52 be merged and 14 be reverted to departments in various ministries.
The report also recommended that the law establishing the National Salaries and Wages Commission should be repealed and its functions transferred to the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Responsibility Commission.
It advised the FG to merge the nation’s top three anti-corruption agencies—the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and the Code of Conduct Bureau.
An earlier analysis by DECENCY GLOBAL NEWS revealed that the Nigerian government could save over N241bn if the report was duly implemented.
However, while presenting the 2023 budget in October 2022, Buhari said his regime inherited an archaic set of corporate, banking, and capital markets laws, draft but unenacted bills to reform the critical petroleum sector, an unimplemented Oronsaye White Paper to reform the civil service, among others.
In April 2020, amid the biting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and falling oil prices, Buhari convened a committee to consider the report’s recommendations and implement them to reduce the cost of governance.
In November 2021, the Federal Government inaugurated two committees on the report. One of the committees was to review the Orosanye report and its White Paper chaired by a retired Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Goni Aji.
The second committee, which reviewed agencies created from 2014 till date, was chaired by another former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Ms. Amal Pepple.
After submitting their findings, the FG, in July 2022, convened another committee chaired by a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Ebele Okeke, to produce a white paper on the reports.
The following month, August, the Okeke-led committee presented the White Paper to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Confirming the committees’ progress, former HoS, Amal Pepple, told our correspondent, “We did our work. My committee handled commissions and agencies that were set up post-Oronsaye. That is from 2014 up to last year (2022).
“And after we submitted our report, they set up a White Paper to look at it and that White Paper committee has also finished its work and submitted it to the government. So, it went out of our hands long ago because after we finished, the White Paper was supposed to go to the Federal Executive Council.”
In a brief conversation with our correspondent, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, affirmed that the White Paper was under review by the legislature.
“It is still under the bureaucracy of the National Assembly and the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. We know that the President’s part is to sign and approve it. So, it is going to come from the bottom up.
“Whenever they are done considering it at the national assembly and the SGF receives it, then it will come to the President,” Adesina said.
But in defiance of the Oronsaye report and its recommendations, the Senate proposed the establishment of 376 new agencies and institutions, a detailed investigation has revealed.
Since 2019, the 9th Senate has passed 1,070 bills, including 376 establishment bills for the creation of various institutions despite the rising cost of governance.
A presidency source who did not want to be named said the Oronsaye report implementation may be passed onto the next administration, given the recent actions of the NASS and the political mood in the polity.
The source said, “I don’t think this administration will be the one to finish that job. Yes, it has left our hands and it’s now with the NASS. But most of them are campaigning for the next elections.
“Those who are not campaigning for themselves are campaigning for others. So, having that thing (White Paper) pass in this period will be difficult because of the election season. I think it will be one of those things that this administration will hand over to the next.” who are not campaigning for themselves