12 years after, Tinubu adopts Oronsaye report, merges agencies

TWELVE years after it received the Stephen Oronsaye Report, the Federal Government, on Monday, approved the implementation of some of its recommendations to reduce the cost of governance.

Consequently, 29 government agencies will be merged even as eight parastatals will be subsumed into eight other agencies.

More so, four agencies have been relocated to four various ministries and while one was earmarked for scrapping.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, revealed this to State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, Monday.

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, then-President Goodluck Jonathan had set up the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies, under the leadership of 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The report also recommends that the law establishing the National Salaries and Wages Commission be repealed and its functions taken over by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Responsibility Commission.

It advised the Federal Government  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.

A PUNCH analysis revealed that the Nigerian Government could save over N241bn if the report is duly implemented.

The minister, who explained that the move would not lead to job losses and redundancies in the affected agencies, said it was meant to reduce the cost of governance and free up monies for reinvestment into the developmental projects.

“In a very bold move today, this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu…has taken a decision to implement the so-called Oronsaye report. Now, what that means is that a number of agencies, commissions and some departments have been scrapped.

“Some have been merged, while others have been subsumed. Others, of course, have also been moved from some ministries to others where government feels they will operate better.

“The Pension Transition Arrangement Directorate has been scrapped. The National Senior Secondary School Education Commission is also being looked at with the aim to modify some of its processes and a final decision on that will be taken,” he explained.

Idris said the goal of Monday’s move is to “fine-tune and to restructure government operations as a whole…and to reduce the cost of governance because some of these agencies are performing very similar functions, so government thought it wise that there is the need, since this committee had already been set up, white paper already been produced, to take a bold decision to visit that.”

However, he allayed fears of massive job losses, saying employees will “find accommodation” within the new structure.

“It is important to note that the fact that the Oronsanye report has been approved and adopted by council today does not mean that people will lose their jobs.

“All those who are employed, whether they have been moved, subsumed or scrapped will find accommodation with that with within relevant government agencies. Nobody is going to lose his job as a result of that,” he added.

In a May 7, 2023 report, weeks before President Tinubu took the oath of office, sources told our correspondents that the incoming President would merge some ministries and agencies of the Federal Government as recommended by the Oronsaye panel and would take tough decisions on other issues going by meetings with his core loyalists.

It was gathered that Tinubu had been meeting with some of his trusted aides on steps to reposition the country and that one of them was to take a critical look at the Oronsaye report.

The President’s Special Adviser on Policy Coordination, Hadiza Bala-Usman announced the agencies to be merged to include the National Agency for Control of HIV/AIDS to be merged with the Centre for Disease Control in the Federal Ministry of Health.

The National Emergency Management Agency is to be merged with the National Commission for Refugee Migration and Internally Displaced Persons; the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa is to be merged with the Directorate of Technical Aid and to function as a department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission will be merged with the Bureau for Public Enterprises; the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission to be integrated into the Nigerian Export Promotion Council as the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure will now be one with the National Centre for Agriculture Mechanisation and Project Development Institute.

Also, the National Biotechnology Development Agency will be amalgamated with the National Centre for Genetic Resource and Biotechnology, the National Institute for Leather Science Technology with the National Institute for Chemical Technology and the Nomadic Education Commission with the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult Education and Non-formal Education.

The Federal Radio Corporation will be merged with the Voice of Nigeria; the National Commission for Museum and Monuments with the National Gallery of Arts; the National Theatre with the National Troupe of Nigeria and the National Metrological Development Centre with the National Metrological Training Institute.

In a similar vein, the Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State will now function as a faculty within the Nigerian Defence Academy while the Air Force Institute of Technology will become a faculty of the Nigerian Defence Academy.

Subsumed Agencies

According to Bala-Usman, the Service Compact with Nigeria, popularly known as SERVICOM, has been subsumed to function as a department under the Bureau for Public Service Reform; the Border Communities Development Agency becomes a department at the National Boundary Commission while the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission was subsumed into the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.

The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution was subsumed under the Institute for International Affairs; the Public Complaints Commission under the National Human Rights Commission; the Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis into the Institute for Veterinary Research; the National Medicine Development Agency under the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development and the National Intelligence Agency Pension Commission under the Nigerian Pension Commission.

Relocated agencies

She announced that the Niger Delta Power Holding Company has been relocated to the Ministry of Power; the National Agricultural Land Development Agency to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security; the National Blood Service Commission has been converted into an agency and relocated to the Federal Ministry of Health even as the Nigerian Diaspora Commission becomes an agency at the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The Presidential aide revealed that Tinubu constituted a committee to midwife the necessary restructuring and legislative amendments needed to ensure full actualisation of the approvals granted.

She revealed, “He tasked this committee with an immediate term of reference to proceed and ensure all of these are done within a period of 12 weeks. The committee membership comprises the Secretary to the Government of Federation, who will chair the committee; the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, member; the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, member; the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning, member; the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reform, member; the Special Adviser to the President on Policy and Coordination is a member; the two Senior Special Assistants to the President on National Assembly are members; and the Cabinet Affairs Office will serve as secretariat.”

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