The Need for Reforms in our Public Institutions.

By  Moses Ayodele Orji

The need to introduce measures aimed at curbing the leakages and wastages in our public institutions has become so glaring that no responsible government would continue to dawdle on it.
Simply put, reforms are changes and improvements introduced into a system or organization in order to correct lingering lapses which have constituted themselves into a logjam.

In Abia State, there has been a lot of hues and cries from several quarters seeking to draw the attention of the government to the challenge of unsustainable wage bills in some of her parastatals. This unsavory situation which predates the present Ikpeazu led administration became more perceptible with the passing of time. Likened to the gestation process, this challenge became more visible as its negative effects began to outstrip whatever palliative measures were periodically put in place to cushion their obtrusive impacts.
As no decisive efforts were made in the past to address the root cause of this malaise, the wounds continued to fester. The resultant industrial disharmony occasioned by a huge backlog in wage bills became the ultimate reality which these institutions have come to grapple with.

Belated as it is, the only appropriate response to this perennial impasse is the ongoing reforms which the Ikpeazu led government has embarked upon. It is only reforms that could deal with the twin monsters of a bloated workforce and poor management.
A case in point is the downward spiral in the fortunes of Abia State Polytechnic. Established by the Abia State Government to provide medium cadre technical manpower in response to the needs of its proximate businesses environment, and the region at large, Abiapoly as it is fondly called grew in leaps and bounds to hit a student population of over twenty-five thousand by 2011.

But as in every other civilization which begins to decay from within, Abiapoly soon turned to the chosen destination and the dumping ground for all manner of job seekers (especially those with CONTACTS). And even the teaching staff could not resist the temptation of adoption a higher pay template.
All these and more eventually led to a  reverse trend which saw the staff strength grow astronomically, and inversely vary to that of the student's population.
The ongoing reform process is no doubt the first bold attempt geared towards finding a permanent solution to the woes and throes of that institution.

Truth is bitter, and like surgery, it hurts. But there are moments when we cannot but face the truth if we are determined to come out of a quagmire. Abiapoly is in a cul de sac and has to get out of it to ensure regular payment of salaries, and the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research which is the core objective behind its establishment.
Since a two-billion naira bailout by way of an amortized loan which the present Ikpeazu government granted the institution could not yield a reprieve, then we don't need any further inquiry to convince us that there is a fundamental dysfunction in the system.

The crux of the matter which centers on doling out 170million naira every month against the backdrop of a dwindling student population that has ebbed below 10thousands should be thoroughly investigated, to ensure that the circumstances which caused it does not creep back in future.
With the painstaking efforts of the verification and review panels taken into consideration, it is my hope that the disengaged workers would accept their fate in good faith.

Available records show that the initial figure of 600workers in the disengagement list was frowned at by the governor. This should be commended by all, including the critics of the government who have never offered an alternative roadmap to resolving the impasse.
Let me, therefore, by way of conclusion endorse the ongoing reforms in Abiapoly,  and thank the governor for refusing to postpone doomsday any further. The only way out of a difficulty is through it. The way forward should be to extend these reform measures to other parastatals and agencies of government in order to restore discipline, probity, and prudence in the management of our public institutions.

Post a Comment