The prospects of cutting the cost of governance in Nigeria look promising. But will it propel the country’s journey to economic prosperity? Experts responded in affirmative.

Over the years, Nigeria’s bureaucratic system has grown big with over a thousand institutions, some redundant, costing more than a quarter of the federal government’s budget yearly. This fueled a consideration to scrap some of these parastatals to cut costs. 

This is the outcome of President Tinubu’s recent order to review and implement the Oronsaye report, a document proposing consolidating government ministries, commissions and agencies with overlapping responsibilities. 

Though Tommy Okoh, the president of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, feared implementation of the report would cause job loss for its members; he also believes that it will be the best way to make governance “efficient, cost-effective and productive.”

This is also the view of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party, a strong opposition party that advances the welfare of the labour workers.

In a post on X, Peter said though the implementation of the report is long overdue, it is one of the best ways to make governance efficient.

“Beyond implementing the Oronsaye Report, the government should go further and cut the cost of governance across board,” noted Obi.

The Oronsaye Report

Amidst Nigeria’s economic struggles and soaring debt, the Oronsaye report came into the limelight to bail out the government. 

It started in 2012, when former President Goodluck Jonathan set up a Committee led by a Nigerian civil servant, Stephen Oronsaye, to deliberate and recommend steps to restructure government institutions. The result was an 800-page essay now known as the Oronsaye report. 

The report calls for the merging of agencies with similar functions and the scrapping of other redundant ones. 

It further revealed that out of the 541 federal government agencies identified in 2012, 50 have no enabling laws and 55 are under the statute book, but they are not under the supervision of any ministry. And since the report, more ministries and agencies have been established, totalling the institutions under the federal government up to 1316.

Like Okoh, many Nigerians believe these government institutions are maggots sucking off the country’s revenue without corresponding results. In 2022, when the government’s debt skyrocketed and the country’s revenue shrunk, the members of the House of Representatives fired out against institutions with duplicated duties, explaining how the government obtained loans to fund their operations.

Experts believe it is high time Nigeria became conscious of its spending, as projection suggests the country’s debt might climb up at least 22.15 percent before the end of 2024.

Cutting Cost for Industrial Growth

The prospects of the implementation of the report look promising. But will it propel Nigeria’s journey to economic prosperity? 

Basheer Lukman, a government official and political analyst, answered in the affirmative. According to him, the move by the Nigerian government to merge 29 agencies, subsume eight parastatals into eight other agencies and relocate four agencies to four various ministries will enhance an efficient system and accelerate industrial growth.

Nigeria’s economic progression is short of expectation, and part of the problem could be linked to the government’s careless spending, noted Lukman. “Subsizing government agencies will improve the efficiency of the civil service, which could help to create a more stable and predictable environment for businesses.”

The analyst also noted that the merger of some agencies will potentially improve checks and balances, which will eliminate the corrupt faggots infesting the system. He warned, however, that the new system should be properly assessed for potential challenges. 

“Nigerian institutions lack transparency and accountability. By bringing together different industries, there would be a greater degree of oversight and scrutiny because each industry would have the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the performance of the others,” he remarked.

Among diverse critics of the government’s implementation of the Oronsaye report is Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer. He observed that the implementation of the report at this time is baseless because it is “completely outdated.” Despite claims of its inefficacy, experts say the report could undergo a thorough amendment so it could fit into the contemporary system.

In terms of job loss, Basheer noted the impacts of post-implementation of the Oronsaye report would be minimal as the funds wasted on redundant agencies would be preserved.

“Agencies that have become obsolete or redundant must be eliminated,” insisted Lukman. 

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