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National Conference

Confab Votes For Separate Foreign Service Commission

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In view of the unique expertise required by diplomats in projecting the image of the country abroad, delegates at the National Conference yesterday voted and adopted a recommendation for the creation of a separate Foreign Service Commission under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They unanimously accepted the recommendation during the consideration of the report of the Standing Committee on Public Service at plenary yesterday. The proposed commission will have a chairman and six commissioners from each of the six geo-political zones in the country.

Also, for efficiency in the public service, the committee recommended the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) based on managerial capacity and rich civil service experience, which it said can only be sourced from the pool of retired veteran civil servants.

It further recommended the need to minimize disparities in the public sector pay, particularly between political appointees, public officers, civil servants and the staff of parastatals while emphasizing a friction-free relationship between the political leadership of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and their top civil servants.

As a cost-saving measure, the committee recommended the amendment of Section 147(3) of the 1999 Constitution which demands appointment of at least one minister from each state of the federation by the President. Delegates voted for the amendment to indicate that the President shall appoint not more than one minister from each state of the federation.

This resolution is expected to restrict the President from appointing six more ministers from each of the six geo-political zones as is being practiced since the provision does not restrict the President from appointing more than one minister from a state, a situation has resulted in a bloated government.

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