Oronsaye report: Job loss fear looms as Tinubu orders implementation

President Bola Tinubu on Monday ordered the full implementation of the report of the Presidential Committee on the Rationalization and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, headed by retired accountant, Stephen Oronsaye.

HMTV reports that though the decision has been long awaited, it has sparked fear of job loss, with thousands of federal government workers jittery they could be sent back to the streets.

With the order coming amid biting hardship and bad economy, indications are high the organized labour would mount stiff opposition to its implementation.

Tinubu’s administration had on Monday said it resolved to implement the Oronsaye report to pave the way for a leaner government by merging some agencies and scrapping some others.

President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, who disclosed the development in a post on his X handle, said many agencies would be scrapped and others merged to pave the way for a leaner government.

He explained that the development was part of the far-reaching decisions taken at the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, chaired by the President.

“Twelve years after the Steve Oronsaye panel submitted its report on restructuring and rationalizing Federal government parastatals and agencies and a white paper issued two years after, President Tinubu and the Federal Executive Council today decided to implement the report.

“Many agencies will be scrapped, and many others will be merged, to pave the way to a leaner government,” he posted on his X account.

Also, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, while briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting stated that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, would be scrapped, merged or subsumed into relevant organizations of government.

According to him, the aim was to cut costs and not to throw Nigerians into the labour market.

Idris added that the details of the affected MDAs would be made known soon, adding that a committee had been set up for the implementation of the report.

However, questions are being raised by some Nigerians over the genuineness of the order as it comes months after the administration created new federal ministries, raising doubts about its commitment and determination to cut the cost of governance.

HMTV reported that Tinubu after his inauguration created new ministries, which include Marine and Blue Economy, Tourism, Art, Culture and the Creative Economy, Gas Resources, Steel Development, Finance and Coordinating Economy, Health and Social Welfare, Aviation and Aerospace Development, Youth Development, Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

Reacting to the President’s order on Oronsaye report, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Uche Nwosu, said Tinubu has proved himself to be a cerebral and decisive leader poised to return Nigeria to the path of growth by cutting the cost of governance.

Nwosu, the president general of Ugwumba Leadership Centre for Africa Development, said in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja that implementing the report would reposition the federal civil service for better productivity.

“Nigeria operates one of the world’s most over-bloated federal civil service structures, and only visionary leadership in the class of Tinubu could face (sic) the bull by the horns to do the needful,” he said.

However, a renowned political economist, Professor Pat Utomi on his X handle described Tinubu’s decision as a ‘paradox ahoy’.

He suggested it would be proper if the administration could just start with trimming the cabinet.

“Paradox ahoy. The largest cabinet in Nigerian history has just voted for full implementation of the Oronsaye report. Applause. Applause! If we can just start with trimming the cabinet,” he said.

On his part, former Kaduna lawmaker, Shehu Sani, warned Tinubu to be cautious about the full implementation of the Oronsaye report, in the aspect where thousands of federal civil servants are likely to lose their jobs.

Sani also commended Tinubu about the order, saying it would cut the cost of governance and harmonize federal ministries, departments and agencies.

He made his opinion known in a post on his X handle on Monday night, cautioning, however, that job losses among thousands of federal civil servants were imminent.

He wrote, “The Oronsaye report has gathered dust for over a decade. It’s commendable that now it shall see the light of the day.

“This is a significant step towards cutting the cost of governance and harmonizing federal MDAs. But care should be taken in that aspect where thousands of Federal Civil servants will lose their jobs.”

HMTV recalls that before now, Tinubu has been accused by many critics of unwillingness to reform the civil service, with many referring to his appointment of 50 ministers to buttress the point.

Many of the administration’s critics argued that it doesn’t make economic sense to have a bloated cabinet at a time the government was asking the people to endure.

For instance, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate in the last general election, Atiku Abubakar, had on Sunday, recently attacked Tinubu for failing to reduce the size of government, as done by his Argentine counterpart, President Javier Milei.

The former Vice President said Tinubu shifting the blame over the worsening economic crisis in the country on the opposition and, even ridiculously, his predecessor was needless and myopic, adding that market forces don’t play politics but respond to the President’s actions and inactions.

“He (Milei) started off cutting government expenditure by reducing the size of government and wastage; blocked stealing of government funds, and attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through concessions, tax holidays, and improved ease of doing business,” Atiku said.

Also, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, had earlier suggested that Nigeria required a 60% reduction in governance expenses rather than fewer individuals in travel entourages.

Obi’s statement came after Tinubu‘s 60% reduction in international and local travel entourages, described as part of the presidency’s cost-cutting measures by the administration.

However, the former Anambra State governor deemed the measure insufficient and advocated the need for a substantial reduction in the overall cost of governance, which could be directed towards vital sectors such as education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation.

“Most importantly, what our current economic reality demands is a 60% reduction in the total cost of governance at the federal level. This implies that the recently passed federal budget needs to be revised to cut all wasteful and unnecessary items.

“This is the level of cost-cutting and savings that can meaningfully impact the present state of the economy. This level of cut in the cost of government should lead to substantial savings,” he said.

Oronsaye Report

HMTV reports that Oronsaye report had become the talking point for Nigerians.

If implemented, it will cause no fewer than 102 heads of agencies and parastatals to lose their jobs.

It dates back to 2011 when former President Goodluck Jonathan set up the presidential committee on the reformation of government agencies chaired by Oronsaye, a former Head of Service of the Federation.

The committee was assigned as its terms of reference, among others, to examine the enabling Acts and mandates of all the federal agencies, parastatals, and commissions to determine areas of overlap or duplication of functions, with recommendations also included.

Following the completion of its assignment, the committee in its report recommended reducing 263 statutory agencies to 161, abolishing 38, merging 52, and converting 14 to departments.

However, the erstwhile Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, reviewed the report and rejected most of the recommendations of the committee when it submitted its report in 2014.

But the accepted recommendations were not implemented until the administration left office in 2015.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2021 also inaugurated two committees to implement the report.

While one of the committees, headed by a former Head of Service, Bukar Aji, was mandated to review the Oronsaye Report and the government white paper, the other committee, chaired by Amal Pepple, was mandated to review MDAs created between 2014 and 2021.

Despite these attempts, the administration did not act on the report.

Speaking to news men concerning the matter, a Public Affairs Analyst and Communication Scholar at Peaceland University, Enugu, Nduka Odo said it’s credit worthy for the President to think about cutting down the cost of governance.

Odo, however, picked holes in the President’s appointment of over 45 ministers and tens of aides, noting that it happened at a time citizens were under excruciating economic conditions.

He stressed that politicians don’t practice what they preach, adding that good policies a#were majorly publicised to be kept in papers.

He said: “Nigeria is an interesting land. Sometimes you wonder why people say and preach one thing but do entirely the opposite.

“Mr. President ordering full implementation of the Oronsaye report is intriguing. Just less than a year ago, he created new ministries, and appointed 45 ministers. He appointed tens of aides. All these happened at a time citizens lived under excruciating economic conditions.

“I give him kudos for at least deeming it fit to implement the report. Former President Jonathan failed to implement it. Buhari too saw no need for it. So, it’s credit worthy for Tinubu to think about cutting down on personnel.

“I will point out two things that make any policies, no matter how great, less exciting to me.

“One, politicians don’t practice what they preach. Good policies are majorly publicised to be kept in papers. They usually have no intention for honest implementation. If Mr. President is honest about it, we wait to see.

“Secondly, our leaders don’t believe in leading by example. This Oronsaye report is about streamlining the workforce. My question is- is the president ready to start with his closest workforce? Is he ready to cut down the number of his ministers, PAs, SAs, SSAs, and so on?

“Or is the implementation going to affect only civil servants and people on minimum wages?

“You remember when they implemented IPPIS? You remember it didn’t affect the lawmakers, the executives, and judges.

“Will this Oronsaye report be the same?

“I always say, the good life that’s good for the President, senators, governors, is also good for every Nigerian.”

Meanwhile, there are already protests over an alleged attempt to implement a doctored version of the report.

Only yesterday, Tuesday, some Igbo leaders, warned against any move to implement anything outside recommendations of the Oronsaye report.

According to them, in the committee’s recommendation, some agencies under the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology were recommended to be merged but the Projects Development Institute, PRODA, Enugu, was recommended to stand alone.

However, they claimed that some top government functionaries want to merge PRODA.

with other agencies contrary to the committee’s recommendation.

Reacting to the alleged move to doctor the recommendation of the committee on PRODA, an Igbo leader and former presidential candidate of United Nigeria Peoples Party, UNPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie told journalists on Tuesday that such action would be counter productive.

Okorie advised that the right thing should be done.

He insisted that the recommendations should be implemented to the letter, adding that since inception PRODA has not been given the desired attention.

The Igbo leader posited that “if given the necessary support, PRODA will be in the interest of the country, as it will take the nation’s technological advancement to the next level.”

Okorie advised the implementing committee not to bow to any pressure to doctor the document, pointing out that PRODA is an agency that deserves adequate attention.

Also reacting, a former spokesman of apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Chuks Ibegbu said though the implementation was long overdue, nobody should politicize it by merging PRODA with any other agency.

“PRODA is an iconic agency with high prospects; what it needs is more attention from the government,” he said.



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