Following the recommendations of the presidential committee on the rationalisation and restructuring of its parastatals, headed by Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, the federal government has finally approved the scrapping of some of its agencies.
According to Leadership Nwspapers, the agencies pencilled down to be scrapped include the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UMTE), National Examinations Council (NECO), Public Complaints Commission, and National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), among others.
Dependable sources close to the committee confirmed that the decision was taken at a meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo and some presidential aides, who met twice at the presidential villa. They were said to have acted based on the advice of the White Paper Committee set up by the president to look into the report.
The Orosanye-led committee had in its recommendation, which it presented to the president in April last year, asked Jonathan to scrap 38 agencies, merge 52 and the revert 14 others to departments in the ministries from which they were created.
It said this was in response for calls by Nigerians to cut cost of governance as it will save the country over N862billion between 2012 and 2015 and eliminate duplication of functions.
Also, the Public Complaints Commission, it was learnt, is to be merged with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) , while NAPEP will also be scrapped and be replaced the National Agency for Job Creation and Empowerment.
One of the sources who spoke to LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity last night revealed that Jonathan had also, at the meeting, approved that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) should take over the functions, including all infrastructure, of NECO which ceases to exist henceforth.
The source said, “WAEC would now conduct two external examinations in a year, with one done in January while the second would be conducted in November of every year.”
The scrapping of the UTME, he added, would entail that every university in the country would now conduct their own admission examinations for students, while the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) will act as regulating body and the clearing house in ensuring compliance to standards.
The source said: “The process will be modelled along the line of Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry to higher education in the United Kingdom.
“Individual university will now do its own examinations and admissions. If you want to apply to a university, you do so but in order not to have a situation where one person gets multiple admissions, JAMB acts a clearing house to free up spaces. All the universities are free now to admit students.”
LEADERSHIP also gathered that, worried over the system’s inability to promote merit when admitting applicants into the universities in the country, government had no choice but to take the action with a view to “ensure that the best students go to the best universities.”