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Concerns as ‘Oronsaye Report’ classifies CPN as IT Professionals’ Association

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CPN

The Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies report popularly referred to as “Oronsaye Report” and the subsequent Whitepaper, wrongly labeled the Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria) [CPN], as an Information Technology (IT Professionals’) Association, TechEconomy.ng, can report.   

Upon inauguration on Aug. 18, 2011, the Committee Chaired by the former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye, was given eight weeks to submit its report.

The Committee in an 800-page report therein recommended the reduction of statutory agencies of government from 263 to 161, stressing that the average cost of governance in Nigeria is believed to rank among the highest in the world.

“There are 541 government parastatals, commissions and agencies (statutory and non-statutory) in the country,’ said, Mr. Oronsaye, in a PremiumTimes report. “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 as well as restructuring and rationalising the agencies under them since the three arms make up the government.’’

However, TechEconomy.ng investigations indicate that the Office of the Secretary General of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, have received complaints on how the Oronsaye’s Committee erroneously labeled the CPN as an IT Association as against its Regulatory provisions in the establishing Act of 1993.

SGF, Boss Mustapha

SGF, Boss Mustapha

By that appendage and subsequent recommendation that the Federal Government should withhold subventions from CPN, the IT industry will be left with no Council-statutorily mandated to regulate activities of practitioners.

A Source at CPN told TechEconomy.ng that the Council has sent letters to the SGF; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami and Minister of State for Education counterpart, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, seeking for a review of the Oronsaye’s recommendations as it affects CPN.

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Speaking on the matter, the President and Chairman-In-Council of CPN, Professor Charles Uwadia, confirmed that steps are been taken to ensure Federal Government understands the true posture of CPN in the eyes of the establishing Act.

CPN was established by Act No 49 of 1993. The Act was passed into law on 10th of June and gazetted on the 9th of August that year.

In other words, it is a corporate entity that is charged with the regulation, control and supervision of the computing profession and practice in Nigeria in line with Section 1 (2) of the Act.

The Council hereinafter referred to as CPN is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education.

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To start with, about two years ago, the Federal Government granted approval for the implementation of a ‘Whitepaper on Scheme of Service for Computer Professional Cadre in the Public Service’ structured on SGL 08 – 17 for graduates”.

The Whitepaper was accepted thirteen years after recommendations to that effect were made by the National Council on Establishments and a testament to Government’s understanding that computer professionals are now national assets because they are capable of developing solutions that will save us from this rainy day.

Prof. Uwadia’s comment:

“The first thing to state is that the Oronsaye Report actually suggested; and this was accepted by the Whitepaper, that CPN should not be funded by the Government. It didn’t state that CPN should be proscribed or should not be allowed to function.

Buhari

President Buhari and CPN President, Prof. Charles Uwadia

“In other words, the Report and the Whitepaper’s position is that CPN should no longer receive subvention from the Federal Government. I just wanted to clarify on that.

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“Having said that, if you go through the entire report carefully, you will find out that apart from the CPN, there are other ‘councils’ that were set in similar position. I will give example: The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) is equivalent to CPN; the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and others. So, I think there was a mix-up somewhere. We can’t really explain how it happened. So, the Oronsaye’s Report saw CPN as an ‘Association’ not as a ‘Registration Council’. Similar thing occurred in the case of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).

“Those two bodies were mistaken as ‘Associations’. Therefore, the report recommends: ‘An association should not draw subvention from the Government’. But, for the registration councils like the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), the MDCN; they still recommended that Government should continue to give to fund them. So, that is our line of complaint.

“We have reached out to government to know that indeed the Oronsaye’s Panel made a mistake; it was an error to categorize CPN as a Professional Association. CPN is a Regulatory Council”.

Nodding in agreement, the Registrar, the Registrar, Computer Professional (Registration Council of Nigeria), Mr. Allwell Achumba said that the Council should receive the deserved attention and recognition from the public and private sectors of the economy as well as internationally.

Allwell Achumba

Allwell Achumba

According to him, CPN is more relevant now the Federal Government is diversifying to digital economy.

“We need to intensify our efforts at developing the IT profession in Nigeria.

“We should not pay lip service to our efforts at building a solid and highly respected IT profession in Nigeria. It is for the good of the profession, the nation as well as the professionals and practitioners who will be reaping the dividends of their sacrifice.

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“Therefore, CPN, no doubt, deserves to be accorded the deserved ‘Regulatory’ rights and given adequate support to rid the profession of quacks. The country cannot afford to have failed IT projects anymore; the revenues are hard to come-by these days. So, whatever is budget and appropriated for IT project must be handled by qualified and competent companies and individuals that have been regularized”, Achumba added.

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Industry watchers have previously called for strengthening of CPN to perform its statutory functions more effectively.

In a recent article, the President of the Nigeria Computer Society, Professor Adesina Sodiya, said it is not out of place to suggest for a strengthening of CPN by the National Assembly to carry-out the peculiar responsibilities to regulate, control and supervise the computing profession and practice in Nigeria in line with Section 1 (2) of the Act.

“The NASS should urgently look into this if we are really serious about tapping into the Fourth Industrial Revolution; whether CPN is retained under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education or aligned to operate under NITDA.

Nigeria Computer Society

Prof. Sodiya –

“Obviously, agencies of government are created to address specific issues at a time; this is the time we need CPN more! CPN is the custodian of Computer code of practice in Nigeria just as British Computer Society is to the United Kingdom”, he said.

As members of CPN gather (virtually) for the 14th IT Assembly, it is expected that the Federal Government will speed up action to review and edit the Oronsaye’s report which wrongly striped CPN of its Statutory rights.

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