* Misgivings in Aviation Sector over Proposal to Merge some Agencies
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After 12 years of dilly dallying by successive governments, the much vaunted Orosanye Report that strongly recommended a drastic reduction in the cost of governance, has seen the light of day, after all.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Monday, rose from its weekly meeting, and announced the approval for the adoption and implementation of the Orosanye Report.
The report was submitted to the Federal Government under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2012 but neither him nor his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, had the political will to adopt and implement its lofty recommendations.
But briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting, which was presided over by President Bola Tinubu, the Minister of Information and National Orientation Minister, Mallam Mohammed Idris, said Council had approved the adoption of the report.
This, according to him, means that some agencies, commissions and departments of government have been scrapped, merged, subsumed under some others and others moved to new ministries where they are supposed to perform better.
“In a very bold move today,” said the Minister, “this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, consistent again with his courage to take very far-reaching decisions in the interest of Nigerians, has taken a decision to implement the so-called Orosanye Report.
“Now, what that means is that a number of agencies, commissions, and some departments have actually 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.
“Like I said, this is a very far-reaching decision. It is aimed, one, to fine-tune or to restructure government operations as a whole. Secondly, it’s in line also with decision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reduce the cost of governance.”
The Minister, however, explained that the adoption of the report did not mean people working in the affected agencies and departments will lose their jobs.
Highlights of Federal Executive Council decisions on Monday 26 February
Here are some of the highlights of the far reaching decisions taken today at the Federal Executive Council meeting, chaired by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
1. FEC approved construction of Lagos-Port Harcourt-Calabar Coastal Superhighway to Messrs Hitech Construction Africa. The First phase made up of 47 kms will begin in Lagos.
2. Social security payments to the vulnerable households to begin immediately. Recipients will be those with NIN and BVN.
3. Social security payments to be extended to graduates from NCE and upwards
4. Consumer Credit to be established very urgently. Chief of Staff to lead a committee that includes Budget Minister, Attorney-General, Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, to make the scheme a reality.
5. The Council in order to enhance efficiency in the Federal service, and reduce the cost of governance, decided to implement the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye panel on the restructuring and rationalisation of Federal agencies, parastatals and commissions.
The implementation involves merging, subsuming and scrapping agencies with similar functions.
The Oronsaye report was submitted in 2012 to the Jonathan administration. In 2014, the Jonathan government released a white paper on the report. The Buhari administration after re-examining the white paper also released a second white paper in August 2022, but did not implement the report.
However, the Tinubu administration has decided to confront the monster of high governance cost by implementing elements of the report.
An eight-man committee has a 12-week deadline to ensure that the necessary legislative amendments and administrative restructuring needed to implement the reforms are effected in an efficient manner.
The committee comprises Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of the Civil Service, Attorney General and Justice Minister, Budget and Planning Minister, DG Bureau of Public Service Reform, Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Special assistant to the president on National Assembly. The Cabinet Affairs Office will serve as the secretariat.
Key recommendations for implementation:
1. National Salaries, Income and wages Commission to be subsumed under Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission. The National Assembly will need to amend the constitution as RMAFC was established by the constitution.
2. Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission to be merged with Bureau of Public Enterprise and be rechristened as `Public Enterprises and Infrastructural Concession Commission
3. National Human Rights Commission to swallow Public Complaints Commission
4. Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate(PTAD) to be scrapped and functions to be taken over by Federal Ministry of Finance
5. NEMA and National Commission for Refugees to be fused to become National Emergency and Refugee Management Commission
6. Border Communities Development Agency to become a department under National Boundary Commission
7. NACA and NCDC to be merged
8. SERVICOM to become a department under the Bureau for Public Service Reform(BPSR)
9. NALDA to return to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
10. Federal Ministry of Science to supervise a new agency that combines NCAM, NASENI and PRODA
11. National Commission for Museums and Monuments and National Gallery of Arts to become one entity that will be known as National Commission for Museums, Monuments and Gallery of Arts.
12. National Theatre to be merged with National Troupe.
13. Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa and Directorate of Technical Aid Corp to be merged under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
14. Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to become an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
15. Federal Radio Corporation and Voice of Nigeria to be one entity to be known as Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria
16. National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA) and National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology to be emerged into an agency to be known as National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency(NBRDA).
17. National Institute for Leather Science Technology and National Institute for Chemical Technology to become one agency.
18. Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development to become one agency.
19. The National Metallurgical Development Centre and National Metallurgical Training Institute will be merged.
20. National Institute for Trypanosomiasis to be subsumed under Institute of Veterinary Research in Vom, Jos.
According to the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga who released the details, the list is not exhaustive.
* Unease in Aviation Sector
Meanwhile, there’s an uneasy calm in the nation’s aviation sector over the proposed merger of some agencies as some experts believe that such an action will go against International Civil Aviation Organisation regulations.
The trio of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) were recommended to be merged into a new body to be known as the Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) and their respective enabling laws amended accordingly to reflect the merger.
Chris-Aligbe, a former image maker of the defunct Nigerian Airways, in an earlier interview, has faulted the plan by the Nigerian government to merge the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, saying it is not the best thing to do.
Mr Aligbe said that each of the agencies proposed to be merged had its specific function under the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
“I was shocked to the marrow when I heard it. the decision is funny,” he said.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the regulatory body for aviation in Nigeria. It became autonomous with the passing into law of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by the National Assembly and assented to by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act was further amended in 2022.
The Act not only empowers the authority to regulate aviation safety without political interference, but also to carry out oversight functions of airports, airspace, meteorological services as well as economic regulations of the industry.
While the NCAA is the apex regulatory body in the country, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is an air navigation service provider with a mandate to manage the Nigerian airspace to a level consistent with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard and recommended practices.
The agency is also designed to increase Air Traffic Management (ATM) capacity in order to manage the increasing air traffic volume and simultaneously reduce delays, to enhance service quality and reduce cost for airspace users.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) came into existence by an Act of the National Assembly – NIMET (Establishment) Act 2003, enacted on May 21, 2003, and became effective on June 19, 2003 following presidential assent. The Act was also amended by the immediate past government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It is a Federal Government agency charged with the responsibility of advising the government on all aspects of meteorology; project, prepare and interpret government policy in the field of meteorology; and to issue weather (and climate) forecasts for the safe operations of aircrafts, ocean going vessels and oil rigs.
The Act also makes it the responsibility of the agency to observe, collate, collect, process and disseminate all meteorological data and information within and outside; co-ordinate research activities among staff, and publish scientific papers in the various branches of meteorology in support of sustainable socio-economic activities in Nigeria.