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Civil Servants Urge Caution in Oronsaye Report Implementation

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As the Nigerian government, under President Bola Tinubu, contemplates the implementation of the recommendations from the Stephen Oronsaye committee report—which proposes the merger and consolidation of several Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to streamline operations and reduce the cost of governance—the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NSCU), particularly its Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, has issued a heartfelt plea to ensure that these reforms do not result in job losses for civil servants.

During the 58th Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held in Abuja, Asogwa Gupada, the President of NSCU, expressed concerns over the government’s approach, criticizing it for focusing on agency mergers and closures rather than addressing its own patterns of wasteful expenditure and unnecessary appointments. Gupada emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to reform that prioritizes the welfare of workers and the efficient delivery of services to the Nigerian populace.

One of the union’s major contentions is the proposal for a new, realistic living wage that reflects the economic realities faced by Nigerian workers. The NSCU supports the N709,000 minimum wage proposal put forward by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) FCT chapter, viewing it as a step towards ensuring that civil servants can meet their basic needs in the face of rising inflation and the increasing cost of living.

Gupada, in his address to the union members, highlighted the challenges of insecurity in the nation, lamenting the government’s apparent lack of effective solutions to curb banditry and other forms of violence that disrupt economic activities, lead to food shortages, and contribute to soaring inflation rates. He called for unity and resilience among civil servants to advocate for their rights and ensure a sustainable future.

The NSCU’s stance on the Oronsaye Report is clear: while acknowledging the need for reforms to enhance efficiency and reduce governance costs, the union insists that such reforms should not come at the expense of the workforce. They argue for a balanced approach to implementing the report’s recommendations, one that considers the socio-economic implications of mass layoffs and seeks alternative ways to achieve fiscal prudence.

Among the suggestions offered by the union is the reduction of political appointees across all levels of government, which they believe would significantly reduce the financial burden on the state and allow for more resources to be allocated towards essential public services and infrastructure development.

As Nigeria navigates these proposed reforms, the voices of civil servants, represented by unions like the NSCU, play a crucial role in shaping policies that are not only efficient but also equitable and sensitive to the needs of the workforce. The dialogue between the government and civil service unions will be pivotal in ensuring that the implementation of the Oronsaye Report’s recommendations leads to a more effective and just public sector, without undermining the livelihoods of thousands of Nigerian families who depend on civil service employment.

This ongoing debate underscores the broader challenges facing Nigeria in its quest for good governance and economic stability. It reflects the delicate balance between achieving fiscal discipline and maintaining social cohesion in a country with a vast and diverse population. The outcome of this process will undoubtedly have long-lasting implications for the structure of Nigeria’s public sector and the well-being of its civil servants.

Source: The Sun Nigeria

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