By: Sunday Oyewole
There is a strong indication that the white paper on the widely publicized Orosanye Committee report may after all, not see the light of the day.
It emerged on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan may have decided not to implement the recommendations contained in the report, especially those that have to do with either scrapping or merger of agencies that could lead to loss of jobs.
The President had last year set up a Presidential Committee on rationalization of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) under the chairmanship of a former Head of Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye.
The committee in its report submitted about two months ago, recommended no fewer than 220 agencies, parastatals and departments for either scrapping or merger to cut cost and to enhance efficiency.
But, President Jonathan in a document submitted to the Senate titled: ‘The 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy’, said the money that will be saved should he go ahead to implement the recommendations would be insignificant.
He therefore, opined that rather than throwing thousands back into the labour market, other methods should be adopted to cut cost.
He stated in the document that “Government is taking steps to correct the situation as much as possible through the IPPIS and other efforts. The biometric verification of government employees is being accelerated, and extended to all MDAs, with the inauguration of implementation committee on IPPIS.
“It had been hoped that significant savings would be made from the implementation of government’s White Paper on rationalizing public agencies. Unfortunately, very little or no savings are likely to be made from the implementation of government’s White Paper on rationalizing public agencies due to the fact that many agencies recommended for closure or merger was allowed to remain partly due to the fact that some of them are underpinned by law, which cannot be repealed in the short run”.
The medium term strategy document also stated that government in 2014 will concentrate more on completion of all ongoing projects across the country.
President Jonathan however, lamented sharp decline in the revenue that has so far accrued to government in 2013, attributing it to oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
“The country, however, has faced serious challenges since the first quarter of 2013 as a result of significant disruptions to oil production that has led to an output drop of almost 400,000 barrels per day.
“Though the revenue loss has affected the implementation of the budget, we have so far been able to cope, thanks to our fiscal buffers he Excess Crude Account (ECA).
“As mentioned earlier, our efforts in the area of revenue increase has been hampered by declining oil a s non-oil revenue. Government is, however, intensifying efforts aimed at stopping the illegalities in the oil sector; implementing a more ambitious non-oil revenue programme; and tightening fiscal policy as government prioritises spending and continues to focus on completion of on-going capital projects”.
The President stated other methods that could be explored including “leveraging on private sector funds through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements such as the second Niger Bridge, Lekki Port, etc to complement to efforts through the budget; rationalization
of recurrent sending through continued reduction or freezing of verge ads and through IPPIS project over the 2014-2016,”.