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FG relays fear of job losses regarding report

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By Abraham Adekunle

Oronsaye Report raises concerns among Nigerians amidst its implementation.

In a bid to streamline government operations and enhance efficiency, the Federal Government of Nigeria is set to implement the long-awaited Oronsaye Report, aimed at rationalizing government agencies and parastatals. Addressing concerns over potential job losses, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, assured the public that the government’s primary objective is to reduce costs and improve service delivery without resorting to mass retrenchment. Speaking at the fourth edition of the Ministerial Press Briefing Series in Abuja, Minister Idris emphasized that the implementation of the Oronsaye Report, dormant for over a decade, underscoring President Tinubu’s commitment to fiscal prudence and responsible governance.

The report advocates a comprehensive review of government commissions, agencies, and parastatals to eliminate redundancies, streamline processes, and optimize resource allocation. “The approval for the implementation of the Oronsaye Report aims to ensure that essential services remain intact while addressing citizens’ needs and prioritizing the nation’s interests,” Minister Idris affirmed. He highlighted President Tinubu’s vision to achieve substantial cost savings through the elimination of duplicated functions and administrative streamlining, all while maintaining service quality. Acknowledging the tangible benefits of the president’s reforms across various sectors, Minister Idris referenced data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicating a notable GDP growth of 3.46% in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to 2.54% in the preceding quarter.

Minister announces social programs and downsizing strategies.

Additionally, capital importation surged by 66%, reversing a previous decline, and petrol importation saw a 50% reduction following the removal of fuel subsidies. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index also reached unprecedented levels, crossing the 100,000 mark. Attributing these economic milestones to the president’s proactive reforms, Minister Idris emphasized the boost in investor confidence in Nigeria’s economy. He further disclosed the President’s directives for the design of a Social Security Unemployment Programme to support unemployed graduates and the establishment of a Social Consumer Credit Scheme aimed at bolstering purchasing power amid temporary economic challenges.

Moreover, Minister Idris announced the resumption of direct payments of ₦25,000 to 15 million households under the National Social Investment Programme, following its review. While the implementation of the Oronsaye Report signals a shift towards leaner and more efficient government operations, concerns over potential job losses persist. To address this issue comprehensively, the Federal Government could adopt various strategies to mitigate the impact on workers while achieving cost-saving objectives. One of them is the voluntary retirement schemes. Offering attractive voluntary retirement packages to eligible employees could facilitate downsizing without resorting to involuntary layoffs. This approach allows employees to opt for early retirement voluntarily, reducing the need for forced terminations.

Natural attrition, reassignment, stakeholder engagement and career support.

Also, leveraging natural attrition by not replacing employees who retire or resign voluntarily can gradually reduce the workforce size over time. By refraining from hiring replacements for departing staff, the government can achieve downsizing objectives gradually. Then, there is the option of reassignment and retraining. Rather than terminating employees, the government could explore reassignment and retraining opportunities to deploy personnel to areas of need within the public sector. This approach ensures continuity of employment while aligning workforce skills with evolving organizational needs.

Furthermore, engaging with relevant stakeholders, including employee unions and civil society groups, in the decision-making process can foster transparency and build consensus on restructuring initiatives. Collaborative efforts can help identify alternative solutions to minimize the impact on employees affected by organizational changes. The government can also provide comprehensive career transition support, including counselling, skill development programs, and job placement assistance. This can ease the transition for displaced workers into new employment opportunities within or outside the public sector. As well, implementing performance-based evaluations to assess employee productivity and contribution can identify areas for optimization and inform decisions regarding workforce restructuring. Focusing on meritocracy ensures that downsizing efforts prioritize retaining high-performing employees.

Related Article: Oronsaye report to be carried out immediately

Finally, exploring Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to outsource certain non-core functions or services can reduce the need for in-house staffing while maintaining service delivery standards. Collaborating with the private sector enables the government to leverage external expertise and resources efficiently. By incorporating these strategies into the implementation of the Oronsaye Report, the Federal Government can navigate the challenges associated with downsizing while maximizing cost-saving opportunities and enhancing overall organizational effectiveness. This proactive approach prioritizes both fiscal responsibility and the welfare of employees, ensuring a balanced and sustainable transition towards leaner government operations.

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