Federal government is now set to scrap, trim or merge its agencies in line with the recommendation of the Stephen Oronsaye-led presidential committee on the rationalisation and restructuring of the federal government’s parastatals and commissions.
This followed the conclusion of deliberations on the draft white paper, yesterday by the federal executive council (FEC), the highest decision-making organ of government.
FEC comprising the President and federal ministers as well as secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) also as the secretary also recommended the alignment of some research institutes in the country with universities while river basins would be commercialised with the participation of private sector.
Mr. Labaran Maku, minister of Information, told journalists after the meeting that the Council deliberated exhaustively on the report, adding that major decisions would be taken in many of the key sectors to reduce number of the agencies, particularly those that are performing duplicating duties and whose functions have elapse.
The Council began deliberation on the report about two weeks ago.
The Oronsaye’s committee considered suggestions, recommendations from different quarters and looked at 541 federal parastatals, commissions and agencies and recommended the abolition of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversal of 14 to departments in ministries.
The recommendation is contained in an 800-page report submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan by the Chairman of the Committee, Stephen Oronsaye last year.
The report stated that the average cost of governance in Nigeria is believed to rank among the highest in the world.
Oronsaye said: “For example, there are 541 Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies (statutory and non-statutory).
“Going by the recommendations of the Committee, the figure of statutory agencies is being proposed for reduction to 161 from the current figure of 263.
“The Committee believes that if the cost of governance must be brought down, then both the Legislature and Judiciary must make spirited efforts at reducing their running costs as well as restructuring and rationalising the agencies under them, since the three arms make up the government.’’
In the report, the Committee proposed the removal of all professional bodies/councils from the national budget in order to reduce the high cost of governance.
Oronsaye-led committee, specifically mentioned the case of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) which it said should not be in existence.
“One case that stands out clearly in this regard is that of the Federal Road Safety Commission Safety Corps, FRSC, which should not be in existence in its present form,” the committee said.
While recommending its scrapping, the committee noted that what the FRSC was set up to do was a replication of the mandates of two existing bodies namely: the Highway Department of the Federal Ministry of Works with respect to the maintenance of safety and orderliness on the highways and the role of the Nigeria Police Force in ensuring law and order on the roads.
The committee said the setting up of the FRSC to take over partially the functions already apportioned by law to the Federal Ministry of Works and the Nigeria Police Force as a result of seeming poor performance and/or to satisfy political and individual interests was a typical example of misadventure in the public sector at a great cost to government.
Similarly, the committee noted that the functions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) were the traditional functions of the police.
The committee also noted that that an institution was inefficient and ineffective should not be a basis for the creation of new ones by the government, saying that the officers and men of the police had been reputed for performing exceptionally and winning laurels while on international peace-keeping and other missions.
The committee also noted the case where the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) Limited, which was established as the commercial arm of the Nigerian Space Research Development Agency, NASRDA, with a sunset clause, had now expanded its scope and now in rivalry with its parent body.
The committee also noted the case of the Nigerian broadcasting agencies (NTA, FRCN and VON), which it said focused more on structures rather than acquisition of broadcasting software.
It stressed that the world over, countries had made efforts to manage the agencies responsible for their mass media communication by establishing and taking advantage of a single coordinating point.
Such reforms in the media sector have been underpinned by the efficient use of resources and collaboration in order to have synergy amongst the operators.
In the Environment sector, the Committee noted 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.
“Besides being a clear case of latter-day overlapping functions of agencies, the continued existence of NOSDRA is tantamount to paying huge salaries to persons who do nothing but wait for spills to occur.
“This is despite the fact that there is a standard operating procedure for oil companies in Nigeria to clean up oil spill whenever it occurs.”
Verve Rewards 600 Customers in Good Life Promo
Africa’s leading payment technology and card brand, Verve International, has rewarded 600 customers so far after the third weekly draws in the ongoing Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo.
Verve rewarded the lucky cardholders at prize presentation ceremonies held in various locations across the country recently.
Amongst the 300 lucky cardholders that emerged winners of the N10,000 cash prize in the weekly raffle draws that have held three times were: Adeleke Moshood, a student from Oyo State; Adeogun Shakiru, an automobile specialist and Rashidat Abolaji, a businesswoman, both from Lagos State.
Another set of 300 Verve cardholders emerged winners of airtime worth N5,000, bringing the total amount won so far to N4.5 million Naira.
Speaking during the draws, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Interswitch Group, expressed her delight about the number of cardholders that have been rewarded lately.
Eromosele reiterated Verve’s resolve to continue to provide secure, convenient and reliable payment solutions for its cardholders.
She said: “Because our cardholders are of priority to us at Verve, beyond providing them brilliant payment solutions, we are rewarding them for their loyalty with the expectation that the reward helps them achieve the good life, whatever the good life means to them”.
Verve recently launched a nationwide promo tagged The Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo which kicked off on September 1, 2020 and will run till November 29, 2020.
The promo seeks to enable Verve’s loyal cardholders to live the good life, whatever the ‘good life’ means to them.
The promo is targeted at rewarding over 2,500 Verve cardholders nationwide, with over N27million Naira in cash and airtime, during the course of 12 weeks duration of the promo.
With three weeks concluded out of the twelve weeks of the promo, Verve cardholders have eight more weeks to keep transacting with their cards and standing the chance to win.
Other Nigerians presently without Verve cards but have the desire to enjoy the good life, can take advantage of this eight-week window to ask their respective banks for a Verve card in order to start transacting, to qualify to win from an array of exciting prizes.
The prizes have been categorized into four segments, with their respective qualification requirements as follows:
Weekly Prize category 1 – N10,000 cash for 100 winners weekly, requires at least 3 transactions weekly. Weekly Prize category 2 – N5,000 for 100 airtime every week, requires at least 3 transactions weekly.
Monthly Prize category – N50,000 cash for 50 winners every month, requires at least 12 times monthly Grand Prize category – N1,000,000 cash for 2 winners, requires at least 36 transactions from now till the end of the promo.
Prospective winners of the Verve ‘Good Life’ promo should consistently use their Verve cards within the next eight weeks, across payment channels such as Point of Sale (POS) terminals, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Web and agent banking centers.
World Cleanup Day: Coca-Cola Partners NGOs, Recovers Over 900kg of Plastic Waste
World Cleanup Day, celebrated globally on September 19, 2020, saw diverse people come together to combat the solid waste problem through numerous community cleanup activities.
To mark this day, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited partnered with two local NGOs – African Cleanup Initiative and Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC), on cleanup activities across Lagos and Ibadan.
African Cleanup Initiative held cleanup activities across numerous locations in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states. This outreach saw more than 200 volunteers gather to collect over 1,500kg of solid waste materials and about 300kg of recyclable waste materials.
At the Lagos event, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mrs Belinda Aderonke Odeneye, applauded the programme.
She expressed the Lagos State Government’s delight at being part of the cleanup activity. Odeneye, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Sanitation Services Department of the Ministry, Mrs Toyin Oguntola, went further to encourage citizens to be environmentally responsible.
She stated, “The government can only perform excellently with law-abiding citizens. We all have a role to play in waste management and ignoring those responsibilities will make all the efforts of the government futile”.
Similarly, the International Coastal Cleanup held at Bonny Camp Coastline by Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC) also produced outstanding results with about 600kg of marine plastic waste materials recovered and over 250kg of marine debris sent to the landfill. The outreach saw participation from over 100 volunteers.
These activities are in line with Coca-Cola’s vision for a World Without Waste and the company’s commitment to doing business sustainably.
Speaking on its World Without Waste initiatives, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “We all have a responsibility to keep our environment clean and Coca-Cola is not left out as we remain committed to promoting a sustainable environment through our plastic recycling and recovery activities, as well as other environmental initiatives”.
With the award of grants of over $800,000 by The Coca-Cola Foundation to multiple local NGOs, several recycling and women empowerment programs are being implemented to help address the issue of environmental protection while simultaneously empowering women who remain significant pillars of the environment.
TETFund Seeks Increased Annual Research Funding of $1bn
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Thursday, urged the federal to increase its yearly funding for Research and Development (R&D) to $1 billion. This was as it hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.
Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFund, speaking at the inauguration of TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee in Abuja, said massive investment in research would bring about the much-needed development in the country.
Bogoro also said it was time for the promulgation of a law that will bring into full place what he referred to as the “National R&D Foundation (NRDF)” to deepen research in the country.
Hear him:”To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.
“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.
“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean-population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years for now.”
Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.
“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it,” he said.
Prof. Bogoro lauded the recent performance of Nigerian universities in the world’s ranking, saying TETFund intervention projects have continued to encourage such feats.
On his side, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while inaugurating the committee, called on members to put their best to the work he described as ‘national assignment.’
Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.
“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.
“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT).
“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.
Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.
He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is said that while countries like the USA, Korea, and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”
He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.
Responding, the Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.
“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive industrialization of the country,” he said.
The standing committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry, and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents.
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