President Muhammadu Buhari will be working with a six-item guiding template to deliver the “change” promised by his party, All Progressives Congress, if the recommendations of the Ahmed Joda led Transition Committee becomes reality.
In the Report of the “Transition Committee on Governance” exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, six key initiatives were recommended for Mr. Buhari to entrench the culture of good governance in Nigeria and revive the country’s ailing status in the comity of nations.
In the Joda Committee report, the recommended good governance initiatives include: Reform the Public Sector; Reform the Electoral Process; Reform the Police Service; Amend the Constitution; Reform the Judiciary; and Re-professionalize the military.
The six initiatives are to be hinged on anti-corruption posture by the leaderships of the three arms of government; transparency and accountability; feedbacks and results assessment mechanism; reform and strengthening of public processes and institutions.
Defining corruption as “violation of established rules for personal gain and profit”, the report highlights major issues that typify Nigeria’s public system.
These issues include non-availability of NNPC Audited Account since 2009; poor and opaque records on oil production, sales and remittance; increased corruption through waivers and exemption of taxes, duties, etc; corruption in foreign aid and grants receipts and utilization; corruption in the aviation sector; corruption in workers’ pension management; and non disclosure of the Financial Statement of Government.
As quick wins, it recommends recovery of stolen funds as well as forfeiture of proceeds of corruption; public declaration of assets; reform of the process of granting waiver and tax exemption; and speedy prosecution of pending corruption cases.
On the medium and long term solutions, the Joda report recommends 10 policy options including, passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill; review and implementation of the NEITI recommendations; ensuring transparency and credibility in the sale of oil blocks; installing and enforcing value-for-money tracking system for donor receipts; amending outdated legislation for public sector financial management; full implementation of International public Service Accounting System; review of the Power Sector regulations; effectively tracking of pension investments and ensuring full implementation of the Pension Reform Act 2014; setting up a single treasury account; and maximizing all revenue sources and block all leakages.
Further, the report advises Mr. Buhari to undertake a review of operations and structures of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria and Federal Inland Revenue Service.
The committee lamented the non-functioning and underperformance of existing refineries, leading to importation of fuel, which gives rise to subsidy scams and oil theft.
It, therefore, asked that refineries be revamped to operate at full capacity and for creation of an enabling environment for new refineries, as medium and long term recommendations.
Apparently against the background of executive abuse that characterised removal of heads of public institutions, for instance Nuhu Ribadu and Sanusi Lamido who were removed as EFCC and CBN bosses after they fell out late Umar Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan respectively, the Committee recommends legislative check on the power of the President to remove or appoint heads of certain bodies, including Independent National Electoral Commission, CBN and the Police Force.
According to the report, problems of weak governance, bureaucratic bottlenecks, low professional standards, graft and inefficiency, low productivity, redundancy and over-bloated staff structure, and inadequate information on the number of institutions as well as the staff strength characterise the public service.
The Joda report recommended that Mr. Buhari defines “a vision for the public service in collaboration with stakeholders and set clearly defined Goals and Targets for Public Officers and consequences for non-implementation.”
Other recommendations are implementation of a merit based performance management system, recruitment and deployment process; and revisiting the report and white paper of the Presidential committee on Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government parastatals, commissions and agencies headed by Steve Oronsaye, as well as the full implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.