Nigeria: Group Backs Oronsaye's Report, Calls for Reappraisal of CPN Act

National Assembly (file photo).
28 May 2020

The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has thrown its weight behind the move by the federal government to implement the Stephen Oronsaye committee report on the restructuring and rationalisation in public service, which called for the merging and scrapping of some government parastatals and commission, whose roles are similar and same.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently gave a nod for the implementation of the recommendations of the report.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the federal government wants to conclude the process for implementation of the Stephen Oronsaye committee report by October, THISDAY had reported.

To this end, the NCS pointed out that while it supports the merging and scrapping of government parastatals and commission whose roles are similar, the federal government must strengthen those parastatals that have key roles to play.

Identifying the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), the body responsible for the regulation of all computing and computational processes in the country, as one of those parastatals with key roles, NCS urged the federal government to strengthen the CPN Act to enable it fight quackery in the computing profession.

NCS President, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, who made the call in Lagos recently, called for the review and reappraisal of the CPN Act, in line with today's digital transformation era.

According to Sodiya, "the NCS calls for a thorough reappraisal of the existing economic template of Nigeria, with a view to having sound fiscal public management during a period of global economic downturns, cannot be faulted.

"It is worrisome that after 60 years of oil boom, Nigeria still has over 80 million out of its estimated 200 million population tagged as poor and living below the United Nations poverty threshold.

"As a way of out of the quagmire of over-bloated bureaucracy and excessive spending on recurrent expenditure, President Muhammadu Buhari, has nodded in agreement that the rationalisation and restructuring of the federal government report popularly referred to as 'Oronsaye Report', should be implemented to cut government spending.

"This portends that about 220 parastatals, commissions, agencies and bodies of the federal government will either be merged or scrapped; such that a chunk of national resources from these Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is channeled into running a government that is lean and concise."

According to him, "As cogent and timely this intervention is, there is need to reflect on certain parastatals, commissions and agencies before they are stripped of their legislative powers.

"One of such bodies that the federal government must be careful with is the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN)."

Sodiya said the reappraisal of CPN became necessary with a view to aligning the nomenclatures with current global practices especially as regards job contents and definitions.

"Therefore, it is not out of place to suggest for the strengthening of CPN by the National Assembly to carry-out the peculiar responsibilities to regulate, control and supervise the computing profession and practice in Nigeria in line with Section 1 (2) of the Act," Sodiya said, while calling on the National Assembly members to urgently look into it, if Nigeria was serious about tapping into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He was also of the view that computing professionals' actions change the world, but must be subject to act responsibly.

"The practitioners should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good of the government.

"CPN deserves the opportunity to continue to uphold the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct of computer practitioners in Nigeria to express the conscience of the profession, Sodiya insisted.

He, therefore, advised the federal government not to withdraw funding from the CPN, which is the only agency established by government to inspire and guide the ethical conduct of all computing professionals, including current and aspiring practitioners, instructors, students, influencers, and anyone who uses computing technology in an impactful way.

The Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies had submitted its report in 2012 during the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Better known as the Oronsaye report, the 660-page report had recommended a reduction in the number of government agencies and parastatals by consolidating some and the outright scrapping of about 102 of such organisations.

Oronsaye, who was Head of Service (HOS) during the Jonathan administration, had chaired the committee set up 2011, which in 2012 submitted its report. Following its submission, a "White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies" was submitted to the administration in 2014.

However, with the 2015 elections looming at the time of the White Paper's submission, the recommendations of the committee were never implemented and were confined to gather dust in the presidency.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, there has been a clamour for his administration to implement the report. This was premised on Buhari's election promise to run a lean government and eliminate wastages in government.

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