The Federal Government of Nigeria is scrapping the National Examinations Council, NECO, and the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP among other government agencies. It is also stripping the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board of powers to conduct examinations into tertiary institutions in the country.
The government is taking the decision in order to streamline agencies of government and reduce the cost of governance, based on recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye Panel Report on the reform of government agencies and ministries.
Mr Oronsaye who was the former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation recommended the abolition of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversal of 14 to departments in ministries.
According to the white paper, which was drafted by a committee headed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board would be divested of the powers to conduct matriculation examinations into tertiary institutions while universities would be allowed to conduct their entrance examinations to students.
Although the JAMB would not be scrapped, it would be a mere administrative structure that would set standard for minimum requirements on how the various universities would conduct entrance examinations.
JAMB will be modelled along same line with the body in the United States of America which sets standards for admissions into institutions of higher learning.
Other decisions taken by government on the Oronsaye committee include the scrapping of the National Examinations Council, NECO, the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP, and the National Complaints commission.
The report recommended that the functions of NECO would be assumed by the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, which will also take over the structures of NECO nationwide.
In order to make up for the deluge of students who sit for the external examinations of NECO, WAEC would be expected to conduct two external examinations, one in January and another in November for external students while still running its internal examination programmes for secondary school students.
Under the proposal, the National Poverty Eradication Programme would be replaced by an agency called National Agency for Job Creation and Empowerment (NAJCE) while the National Complaints Commission will be merged with the National Human Rights Commission.
The Government rejected the recommendation urging the scrapping of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Ministry of Police Affairs, saying it would be counterproductive.
A member of the committee told Vanguard that the decision was preparatory to government’s plans to overhaul major sectors in the country.
“JAMB will be divested of the admission provision. It will no longer conduct examinations but will be a clearing house. Every school will admit its students.
“NECO will be scrapped and its infrastructure will be merged with that of the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
“Universities will be allowed to set their standards but jamb will set the minimum standard for admission into all tertiary institutions,” the source said.
It will be recalled that the Oronsaye report stated that the average cost of governance in Nigeria is believed to rank among the highest in the world.
Oronsaye said in his report that “there are 541 Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies (statutory and non-statutory).
“Going by the recommendations of the Committee, the figure of statutory agencies is being proposed for reduction to 161 from the current figure of 263.
“The Committee believes that if the cost of governance must be brought down, then both the Legislature and Judiciary must make spirited efforts at reducing their running costs.”