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Dissecting Public Service Reforms

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An efficient public sector drives the process of growth in the economy globally; it prepares the environment for robust and sustainable partnership to take place between government, local and foreign private investors.

The present leadership of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation OHCSF has on approval by the Federal Executive Council FEC presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari commenced the implementation of the 2017-2020 Federal Civil Service Strategy Plan to ensure a sustainable and result oriented civil service in Nigeria.

Work has commenced in earnest with various levels of modules in place since the launch and inauguration of the strategy plan some weeks back.

OHCSF Outlined Set Objectives To Transform The Civil Service For Three Years.

Epic Culture is aimed at developing efficient, productive, and incorruptible and citizen centered culture, enterprise content management targets to improve efficiency through digital transformation, complete automation of records and civil service content, thereby eliminating redundancy and ensuring harmonization of data.

Entrepreneurship, culture and commercial orientation aimed at transforming the civil service from being a cost center completely reliant on government funding to a revenue generator, there is as well the welfare and benefits packages focused on improving the welfare of civil servants in terms of compensation, housing support and pensions.

However, major objectives in the reforms process are to activate culture change across the service, build knowledge work environment, and institutionalize structured mandatory continuous training to build competences, strengthen the civil service through institutionalization of career performance management system.

Develop and implement enterprise resource planning policy, develop enterprise content, adopt and operationalize records management, achieve automation of civil service content, achieve automation of human resource component on the integrated personnel payroll information system IPPIS.

Reforming Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from cost to revenue generating centers, promote pre-retirement enhancement programmes, promote public/private partnership, and create awareness of enterprise culture and commercial values.

Rewiew Of The Civil Service Since 1999

The various reforms in the past were to drive this improvement, transparency and reduce corruption, improve performance management, enhance communications across MDAs, improve efficiency and effectiveness, reduce cost and process inefficiencies.

The reforms are also aimed at boosting public perception, upward wage review, timely and consistent pension payments, improve government data on wages, improve transparency and reduce corruption and the overall boost in talent development and retention of competency, training capability enhancement.

Key Challenges In Past Reforms

There has been low level of ownership and resistance to change due to lack of inclusiveness in policy making. Key individuals and bodies not supporting use of performance measurement system, and  inadequate access to timely information gathering.

Also hampering performance is inadequate and inconsistence funding of training initiatives, policy reversals from one administration to the other, suspension of tenure policies and low competency and staff capability to deliver service in the federal structure.

Budget constraints, prevalent cases of bribery and corruption, ineffective monitoring and evaluation, weak enforcement of compliance and sanctions, current approach of tenure base promotion, political influence in posting and appointments.

There is the case of ICT infrastructure currently deployed unable to support level of digitization  required, slow automation of core Human Resources HM processes, IPPIS, HR modules yet to be deployed, slow adoption rate of already deployed ICT tools.

Moving From 2017-2020

The suspension of all 5 core training modules, backing of civil servants due to attend training programmes, inadequate training content and delivery methods, no performance management system beyond promotion exams with no emphasis on merit because of lack of incentives.

Low value proposition for civil servants, lack of transparency on innovation across the service, limited support to incubate innovative ideas and perception of MDAs solely as cost centers, observable mindsets that foster weak culture in service, hierarchical environment limiting employee participation and low accountability levels.

Again, there are improved staff competencies and skills through well targeted and funded programmes across all grade levels, result based performance and meritocratic environment for civil servants with clarity on metrics and link to incentives, monetary and non-monetary.

Clear career path value proposition, training benefits, salary that retains top talent, a more innovation civil service that draw new ideas and strategy from within and externally to grow the economy in all sectors within a reasonable period of time.

It is common knowledge that the current head of service has embarked on several innovative programmes that are aimed at ensuring efficiency and result oriented public service that will impact in positive terms the operational mode of sectorial reforms in Nigeria.

For the first time in the history of Nigeria, public service reforms under the present administration has experience a boost and needed transformation, though there are areas with potential improvement and standardization to meet the required modules.

The Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita has at various interfaces and public gathering expressed government commitment and preparedness to change the conduct and way of doing things in the public service to boost various sectors.

According to her, so much has been achieved in the public service during President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and that a lot more would be achieved within the next two years to aggregate the overall performance of the public service in the period under review.

She posited that public sector reforms in Nigeria is key to the development and growth of the nation’s economy especially at this critical period of economic recovery and repositioning to address in perpetuity anomalies in the conduct of government business.

However, the entire process of reforms in the public service under the leadership of Winifred can be described as a huge success considering the damage done by successive regimes in the past.

It is therefore pertinent to give the OHCSF the needed support to go through these initiatives to take the Nigerian civil service to a

World class efficient oriented service that will be the envy of African countries and beyond.

The Nigerian government had in the past suffered setbacks in enthroning various public service regime that would stand the test of time, but today the country is gradually waxing strong in the federal government reforms in the public sector over the last two years.

Statistics have clearly shown that documents are no longer put in the shelve for later day implementation, but such policies are being rolled out daily for effective commencement and supervision to achieve the 2017-2020 implementation strategy plan with the intent to look back after two years and appraise the level of success recorded in transforming the way of doing government business for a productive public sector.



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