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Lauding Directive On Agencies To Improve Performance Arising

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The recent directive by the Head of Service of the federation, Ms Winifred Oyo Ita on government agencies to improve their performance and service delivery to Nigerians is not only timely but laudable. Nigeria is said to be losing an estimated $2 billion annually inforeign exchange drain in the health sector due to loss of confidencein the health system, coupled with incessant strikes by health workers in their demands for better working condition. This is even as the work performance level and attitude of health workers to patience is rated abysmal. Indeed, there are concern over what is described as lack of teamwork in the health sector and other workplace, which is the leading cause of rivalry between medical doctors, pharmacists and other allied workers. The revelation only corroborates the standpoint of the Office of the Head of Civil Service to restructure through strategic reforms of the public service for efficiency, growth and development, to clearly draw a distinction between the present administration and the old order in Nigeria. However, all forms of public sector labour crises by Nigerian workers can be described as deliberate steps taken to sabotage public institutions and the productive sector, to which civil servants ought to owe their loyalty and commitments, taking into account the fact that monthly earnings to sustain homes is drawn from these institutions it disparage.

Government institutions, corporations and public health centres must be functional to address sectorial needs of our people, rather than see the nation as a consuming state; the public service will gradually be transformed into a productive one. The Head of Service has a dominant role to play in determining economic growth driven by skill and unskilled labour drawn from the workforce. To achieve this thought government will demonstrate capacity to fund the digitization process of the public sector and take on all the elements of the reforms and ensure its full implementation. When fully completed in the year 2020, the President Muhammadu Buhari public service reforms will not only guarantee an efficient and productive civil service, but a financially robust and resilient public sector that will secure continuous growth.Worried by workers penchant for labour crises, which is said to be responsible for low productivity and poor performance in delivering government services in public institutions, a Director Special Services in the Office of the Head of Service James Olusoji said dialogue remains the best option in the resolution of labour disputes.

He said the federal government had directed chief executives of agencies to fully implement all approved schemes of service and circulars affecting the career progression and conditions of service of medical laboratory scientists and their establishments. Apparently, the directive was given in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice in the treatment of all staff in the public service of the federation in line with the intent of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to create an environment that considers all players in public sector growth. Currently there is inter-agency collaboration that is introduced to enhance performance and determine the functionality of new programmes contained in the 2017-2020 strategy documents to reform the public service for increased output and give sectorial value to the overall development of the system. Accordingly, strategic measures had been taken and deployed to strengthen performance in public service, which has far reaching consequences that addresses issues of non-payment of allowances, training and elongated salary structure as contained in government white paper that forms the basis for negotiation between government and organised labour.

Government policies and programmes are equally designed to accommodate the yearnings of the people, though the implementation process had at most times been associated with breaches and frictions that either end midway or crashes the programme, which in the ongoing reforms, formulators and implementers have carefully avoided controversies and negative sidelines that are capable of derailing the process. The functionality of the civil service determines the success of administration and the political economy of any nation. To this end, unproductive public sector translates to a retrogressive economy that hardly funds infrastructure projects. Therefore, quality performance from public servants is not negotiable, though government tolerance in the multiplicity of strike actions rather than dialogue calls to question the enforcement of discipline within the public service, especially the attitude of coming to work late and closing early.

–Eze, writes in from Abuja





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