Oronsaye panel wants EFCC, ICPC scrapped - NTA, FRCN, FRSC, 100 others to go

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The Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Agencies, headed by former head of service Stephen Oronsaye, said in a report to President Jonathan that the unwieldy number of public agencies was fuelling wastages, indolence and corruption.

In his presentation while...

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The Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Agencies, headed by former head of service Stephen Oronsaye, said in a report to President Jonathan that the unwieldy number of public agencies was fuelling wastages, indolence and corruption.

In his presentation while submitting the report at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Oronsaye recommended the scrap of 102 statutory agencies out of the existing 263. He said there are a total of 541 statutory and non-statutory parastatals, commissions and agencies, a lot of them being mere drainpipes of public funds. He said there were “duplications and overlaps in the mandates of many parastatals and agencies…without regard to existing laws and, in some cases, out-rightly replicating extant laws.”

Oronsaye said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission are mere duplications of the traditional duties of the Police.

“The committee observed that even though the two commissions were established separately to address corruption, which the Police appeared to have failed to do, successive administrations have ironically continued to appoint the chairman of the EFCC from the Police Force, while the methodology adopted by the ICPC in conducting investigations as well as the training of its personnel in investigation procedure are carried out by the Police. One wonders if it was really expedient to dismember the Nigeria Police rather than allow it to evolve as a vibrant and effective agency.

“Mr. President, the point that must be reiterated is the fact that that an institution is inefficient and ineffective should not be a basis for the creation of new ones. The officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force have been reputed for performing exceptionally and winning laurels while on international peace-keeping and other missions. This implies that the problems of our Police are not incurable,” Oronsaye said.

Among other agencies being proposed for abolition, merger or internal reorganisation are the Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Television Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Voice of Nigeria, National Broadcasting Commission, Nigeria Communications Commission, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat), Nomadic Education Commission, National Agency for Mass Literacy and Universal Basic Education Commission.

Unwieldy, wasteful and corrupt

Oronsaye said the road safety commission “should not be in existence in its present form” as it was a replication of the mandates of the Highway Department of the Federal Ministry of Works with respect to the maintenance of safety and orderliness on highways and the role of the Police in ensuring law and order on the roads.

“The setting up of the FRSC to take over partially the functions already apportioned by law to the Federal Ministry of Works and the Nigeria Police Force as a result of seeming poor performance and/or to satisfy political and individual interests is a typical example of misadventure in the Public Sector at a great cost to government,” he said.

The committee recommended the collapse of the Nomadic Education Commission and the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education into the Universal Basic Education Commission because they all have to do with basic education.

In the environment sector, Oronsaye said there is duplication of functions between NOSDRA and the Department of Petroleum Resources. “Besides being a clear case of latter-day overlapping functions of agencies, the continued existence of NOSDRA is tantamount to paying huge salaries to persons who do nothing but wait for spills to occur,” he said.

The committee said NigComSat, which was established as the commercial arm of the Nigerian Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA), “with a sunset clause, has now expanded its scope and is in rivalry with its parent body.”

It added that NigComSat is also veering into the statutory functions of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) in the area of frequency allocation.

Oronsaye said federal broadcast agencies NTA, FRCN and VON “focus more on structures rather than acquisition of broadcasting software,” and therefore recommended that they be brought under a single coordinating unit.

The report proffered four ways to immediately tackle the high cost of governance: “(i) Reduction in the number and size of the governing boards of parastatals; (ii) Linking the budgetary system to deliverables and output; (iii) Implementation or vacation of some decisions taken on past reports; and (iv) Removal of all professional bodies/councils from the national budget.”

Receiving the report, President Jonathan said he would immediately set up a committee to produce a white paper in two months.

The Oronsaye committee was inaugurated on May 18 last year and asked to submit a report within eight weeks. The chairman said yesterday that because of the “volume, ramification and importance” of the task, the panel took up to this time to finish its work.

Oronsaye said there were committees similar to his own set up previously, and they made recommendations towards reducing the number of government agencies. But he added that those reports had been ignored, while the size of government kept expanding. He said in the year 2000, the Ahmed Joda Panel proposed scrap, commercialisation, privatisation or self-funding of many agencies but which still rely on the public purse.

“The long-standing challenges that beset the Nigerian public sector, including the parastatals, have created a ‘single story’ of inefficiency, corruption, poor work environment, low morale, ineffectiveness, deceit and low productivity, thereby establishing a perception of a dysfunctional and unproductive public sector…where it is unable to perform its legitimate functions creditably,” he said.


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