Jonathan sets up White Paper Committee to look into report on restructuring of parastatals

President Goodluck Jonathan receiving the report from Steve Oronsaye. 16 April, 2012.

President Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, announced that the Federal Government would work toward the speedy implementation of the recommendations made by the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.

Jonathan stated this after the chairman of the committee, Stephen Oronsaye, presented the over 800-page report of the committee to him.

He said because of the critical nature of the report to the nation, a White Paper Committee would be set up immediately with a mandate to complete its job within two months, after which the Federal Executive Council would deliberate on the White Paper and the areas necessary for transmission to the National Assembly for legislation would also be done with dispatch.

“You recall that at the inauguration of this committee in August last year, I emphasised the urgency and significance of its assignment. Given our avowed commitment to cutting down the cost of governance, I will like to assure Nigerians that this report will receive rigorous considerations with a view to faithfully implementing the recommendations of the white paper committee which I am setting up today,” the President said.

“It is my hope that in the end we will come up with decisions that will positively and sustainably impact on governance process in this country.”

According to him, the presentation of the report by Oronsaye underscored the fact that there were obvious overlaps, duplications and redundancy in the mandate and functions of many federal agencies.

“Our administration believes fervently that a primary responsibility of government is to safeguard against wastage on the one hand and maximise potential on the other,” he said.

“We are resolutely committed to achieving both objectives.”

The eight-member committee set up on August 18, 2011 was asked to study and review all previous reports and records on the restructuring of Federal Government parastatals and advise on whether they were still relevant; examine enabling Acts of all the federal agencies, parastatals and commission and classify them into various sectors.

Eight months after its inauguration, the Oronsaye-led team submitted the final report of the committee to the President in the presence of most ministers and presidential aides, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

The committee was also instructed to examine the mandates of the existing federal agencies, parastatals and commissions and determine areas of overlap or duplication of functions and make appropriate recommendations to, either restructure, merge or scrap to eliminate such overlaps, duplication or redundancies.

The recommendations made include the reduction of federal statutory agencies from 263 to 161; that ministers should cease to chair Boards of Directors of agencies under their supervision and prune the number of board members to not more than seven persons.

The committee also recommended that the presidency hands-off monitoring parastatals and concentrate on coordination of policies and not their implementation. All the agencies under the presidency should be coordinated by a Minister of Special Duties who should be so appointed. 

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