The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday began a review of the report of the Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of government parastatals, commissions and agencies.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Committee, headed by the former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye, recommended the reduction of federal statutory agencies from 263 to 161.
Mr Abati said the Council took a look at the report of the White Paper Committee that was set up to look at the recommendations of the Oronsaye Committee.
“The draft White Paper has already been prepared based on the report of that committee and what council took today was the draft white paper for discussion and review.
“The Oronsaye Committee considered suggestions, recommendations from different quarters and in total, the committee looked at 541 federal parastatals, commissions and agencies.
“The white paper drafting committee out of that accepted 321, noted some recommendations, and rejected some.
“At the end of the day, the FEC will take final decision on this recommendations and when that is done, the white paper will be made public,’’ he said.
“After the draft was submitted, a review committee was set up by Mr. President which also considered the report and now, it is being considered at the level of the FEC.
“You can be sure that in due course, the white paper with regards to the restructuring and rationalisation of government parastatals, agencies and commissions will be released,’’ Mr. Abati said.
He gave assurance that the council’s decision would not result in job loss, but efficiency and reduction in cost of governance as well as prevent leakages and wastages.
“This is not targeted at pushing anybody out of work; this is not an exercise at making life difficult for anybody.
“This is just government restructuring for better level of efficiency. People should not be unduly anxious,’’ the special adviser said.
It would be recalled that the committee submitted its report in April 2012.
In the report, the committee said there were 541 statutory, non-statutory federal commissions and agencies, which make the average cost of governance ranked among the highest in the world.
Specifically, the Committee recommended the abolition of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversion of 14 agencies to departments in the relevant ministries.
It also recommended the management audit of 89 agencies through capturing of biometric features of staff and the discontinuation of government funding of professional bodies and councils.
The committee said the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) ought not to be in existence, because its statutory mandate was a replication of the mandates of two existing bodies.
FRSC, according to the committee, is replicating the mandates of the Highway Department of the Federal Ministry of Works and the role of the Nigeria Police Force.
Similarly, the committee noted that the statutory functions of two anti-graft agencies, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), were duplication of the traditional functions of the Nigeria Police.
The committee also recommended a single coordinating point for the three federal broadcasting agencies of NTA, FRCN and VON.
The Committee also observed that the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) was created to perform a function already assigned by law, to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Mr. Oronsaye had urged the president to ensure effective implementation of the recommendations through “administrative, political, legislative as well as concerted constitutional actions.”