As the COVID-19 pandemic batters the Nigerian economy, the Federal Government has resuscitated the report of the presidential committee on restructuring and rationalization of federal government parastatals, commissions and agencies which recommended the scrapping and merging of many agencies to save costs.
Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the report of the committee headed by Stephen Orasanye, former Head of Service of the Federation.
The 800-page report had recommended the abolishment and merging of 102 government agencies and parastatals.
Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, told Channels TV on Wednesday that the president’s approval has been forwarded to the head of civil service and secretary to the government of the federation.
“The president has approved that this administration should implement the Oransanye report.
“It has reviewed the whole of the size of government and has made very significant recommendations in terms of reducing the number of agencies and that would mean merging some agencies.
“This is a report that has been in place for a long time and there hasn’t been implementation but the president has approved that this should be implemented and we have conveyed Mr President’s approval to the arms of government that are responsible for this and that will be the office of the secretary of government and the head of civil service of the federation.”
Experts say the Federal Government had for decades, consciously nurtured a profligate system where various agencies and departments of ministries parade bloated and redundant workforce that waste the nation’s resources via fat yearly budgetary spend.
Aside contending with the high number of moribund agencies and the haemorrhaging effects on the economy, they said government was still battling to weed out ghost workers leeching on its lean purse.
Stephen Oransaye, a former head of civil service, had headed a committee set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan to identify civil service inadequacies.
At the time, the seven-man committee said the “rationalization of agencies, parastatals and commissions would have human dimensions and cost implications” and recommended that the government should focus on empowering the MDAs “to do more for less”.
More so, data from the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies shows that Nigeria currently has 719 federal agencies. Out of that figure, 111 of them were created between 1999 and 2018.
Again, between 2015 and 2018 (President Buhari’s first tenure), 11 fresh parastatals were established via Acts of parliament. Among them are; National Senior Citizens Centre (Act 2018); Northeast Development Commission (establishment Act 2017), Air Force Institute of Technology (establishment Act 2017) and National Institute of Mining and Geo-Sciences, Jos (Act 2017). The Sun