Monday, May 4, 2015

Buhari’s transition committee to decide Oronsaye report, others

The 19-member transition committee set up by the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, will decide the fate of the Steve Oronsaye panel and other similar reports, which propose ways of reducing the cost of governance.

The PUNCH learnt in Abuja on Sunday that the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee, which is to continue its meeting this week, is to, among other things, take a critical look at these reports and advise the President-elect appropriately.

The Oronsaye committee had recommended the merger of some federal institutions and the scrapping of others as a way of cutting public spending.

Some of the institutions recommended and approved by the Federal Government for merger include the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.

It also approved the scrapping of the National Poverty Eradication Programme and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, among others.

A leading member of the All Progressives Congress, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the quantum of work before the President-elect was not what could be concluded in a hurry.

The party leader said, “The work of the transition committee is crucial to the decisions the President-elect will make in the first few months of assuming office.

“It will require a lot of consultations and the checking of available records; and to do this, he needs to be put through the knotty details which gave rise to the compilation of some of these reports.

“If you recall, some of these reports date back to the (ex-President Olusegun) Obasanjo days; some situations may have changed but the basics, in terms of the rot within the system, has worsened since 1999.

“Buhari has explicit confidence in the leadership and membership of the committee, which he personally picked with a few inputs from the party leadership and other well-meaning Nigerians.”

Joda had in an interview with the Kano-based private radio station, Freedom Radio, on Friday night, said that the committee would engage experts to conduct investigations.

He said, “Truly-speaking, the time frame of our committee is short and it cannot be enough. There are signs that we cannot finish under the period, we will set up committees of people with track records in different fields and we will give them time to do sector-by-sector analysis.

“From their reports, we will submit an interim report to the President-elect before he takes over but it won’t be our final report.”

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is also a member of the transition panel, declined comments about the committee’s work, but said, “We will resolve all of our issues.”

The committee is to, among others, “develop a clear framework for liaison with the outgoing administration for purposes of a smooth handover/takeover and to receive handover documents from Ministries, Departments and Agencies and itemise the most important or most urgent issues confronting the incoming government.”

It will also “review and make preliminary assessment of the balance sheet of government with particular emphasis on the status of assets and liabilities of government; cash flow position of the government; quantum of public domestic and external debt of government and their deployment; government’s out-standing contractual obligations and its ability to meet such obligations and the status of implementation of capital projects.”

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