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Civil Service Reforms Stimulating Increase In Productivity

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Growth in output determined by performance indicators in the public service are variables and major factors used to aggregate corresponding increase in the nation’s quarterly growth figures turned out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Over the last three years, the Nigerian Civil Service has taken a look at its performance records to determine levels of growth in the public sector as it affects national development, especially in the strategic areas of revenue and to curb corrupt practices in the public sector.

The focus of growth, “Invigorating the Nigerian Civil Service for Good Governance,” as contained in the 2019 score card of the Federal Government Reform Agenda being handled by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, is designed to create more efficient oriented civil service to drive needed growth in the economy.

Arguments by economic and political commentators on performance indicators in the economy have always made reference to figures announced by the NBS, to measure parameters of growth in the oil and non-oil sectors of the economy including employment ratio and productivity.

From records available to us, the civil service has speedily taken its reforms too far from expectation, since we can now determine how many civil servants are on the pay roll through the Integrated Payment Information System (IPIS), thereby enabling government to eliminate ghost workers and save billions of naira.

Retreats were earlier on held for federal permanent secretaries to educate them on new ways of managing public office and public trust with efficient and corruption-free practices inculcated in the civil servants at all strata, beginning from the lower cadre to the directorate level.

Induction programmes were also conducted for permanent secretaries, and majorly, for staff of the Accountant General of the Federation and Auditor General of the Federation to acquaint them of their roles as administrative and accounting officers, enabling affected officers to understand what public trust entails, which of course is aimed at curbing corrupt practices.

To reposition effectively the public service, the implementation strategy plan of the ongoing reforms must achieve its variables and modules outlined to give a comprehensive reform structure that will build and strengthen revenue sources, curb wastages and ensure good governance.

To further strengthen its resolve, multi-lateral development partners have been engaged to give support through capacity building, technical expertise in strategic areas of developing the civil service that will not only address issues bothering on indolence and corruption, but create a wide range of opportunities for private participation in governance.

Pilot phase of the physical verification exercise for all employees of the Head of Service Office was completed and the service wide verification for employees of all core Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on IPPIS in the Federal Capital and Lagos State has, also been concluded.

One of the attempts to restructure the public service was the delegation led by the Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita, accompanied by all heads of Service in the 36 states of the federation including federal and state permanent secretaries on a bench marking and study visit to Malaysia and Singapore.

Effective collaborations and exchange of civil service practices were also undertaken between the Nigerian government and the Rwandan government to look at strategic areas of partnership and development to ensure an efficient and growth driven civil service.

The service in three years trained over 48,000 civil servants in various areas of development, while the Federal Training Centres enrolled about 2000 staff in the various centres for training needs of the junior and middle level manpower development.

Various other capacity building programmes were conducted in the civil service, forming part of the modules developed in the implementation plan of the reform agenda with a delivery date of 2020, after which the public service must have undergone strategic turn around to serve the country better.

The public service quarterly lecture is primarily designed to create larger awareness to civil servants on the need to be productive and efficient at the discharge of their duties, reminding them not to betray the trust and confidence reposed in them by the Nigerian people.

At this year’s lecture, the former head of service and secretary to the government of the federation, Mahmud Yayale, told civil servants not to encourage politicians in their bid to steal public funds.

He noted that, without the civil servants, politicians would not process payments for themselves, especially when such payments are seen to be fraudulent, devoid of due process in the award of contracts and allowances bothering on Duty Tour.

Again, former head of service, who doubled as guest speaker at the event, Professor Oladapo Afolabi, said the Nigerian civil service is distinct from the larger public service, because it is at the very heart of governance in Nigeria. It is a vital part of governance machinery designed to deliver good governance.

Historically, the Nigerian civil service is as old as the country, established in 1914, at the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates, the modern civil service was, however, established in 1954 with a truly Nigerian framework, though a colonial affair that basically focused on maintaining law and order.

Today, the Nigerian civil service, known for redundancy and indolence, is growing to become one of the most formidable public services at the end of ongoing reforms that seek to dwarf all forms of negligence and unproductivity inherent in the service in the past.

The growth, driven by performance, has to do with the efforts of the present administration to stem corruption at all levels.

Therefore, Nigerians are enjoined to partner with the federal government on its commitment to sanitise the entire civil service for efficient and productive service for all.

 

– Benjamin, wrote in from Abuja.


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