Akin Akande, Abuja
Federal government on Wednesday laid to rest speculations about the fate of about 220 agencies and parastatals recommended for scrapping by the Steve Orosanye panel as it gave indications that the affected government bodies would be scrapped.
This is in furtherance of its resolve to ensure efficiency in public service as well as save cost.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati who gave the hint at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting said out of the 541 agencies and commissions considered by the Steve Oronsaye Committee, the White paper Drafting Committee has accepted 321.
President Jonathan, it will be recalled last year inaugurated a Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalization of Federal Government Parastatals and Agencies, headed by the former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Orosanye.
According to Abati, consideration of the draft has commenced with a view to formally issuing a white paper.
His words: “the draft White Paper had already been prepared based on the report of that committee and what council took today was the draft white paper for discussion and review.
“It is ongoing, that process will continue during the next meeting. I know that many people have expressed concerns on when the white paper will be released.
This makes it very clear that works have been ongoing on the report of that committee.
“After the draft of that white paper 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 and you can be sure that in due course, the white paper with regards to the restructuring and rationalisation of government’s parastatals, agencies and commissions will be released”.
The Presidential Adviser however reassured the civil servants not to panic as the exercise was meant to improve efficiency and save cost for other services.
“There is no cause for any anxiety. The Oronsaye Committee considered suggestions, recommendations from different quarters and in total, that 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 recommendation and when that is done, the white paper will be made public. I don’t think we should jump the gun. The thing to note is that all of this is being done to ensure efficiency, to reduce the cost of government, to avoid leakages and wastages and to make government far more effective in delivering quality service to Nigerians.
“This is not targeted at pushing anybody out of work; this is not an exercise in making life difficult for anybody. This is just government restructuring for better level of efficiency. People should not be unduly anxious.
“You can be assured that now that it is at the level of the FEC, work will be completed on if very quickly, the white paper will be released and it will be implemented accordingly,” Abati assured.
Also, Council considered and approved a draft Bill on National Fertilizer Quality Control, which will now be forwarded to the National assembly for passage into law.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said the Bill seek to ensure that adulteration of fertilizers is punishable by as much as seven years jail term, adding that it will boost investment in the sector.
The Minister of water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe briefed Council on the outcome of the meeting in Cairo, saying African Council of Ministers in charge of Water Resources commended President Jonathan for hosting a presidential summit on water recently.