Nigeria is changing, and so are Nigerians. The country is in an era of change where structures and values of national institutions are experiencing internally organised or externally induced reforms. Perhaps at no time as the country faced such urgency in socio-economic and infrastructural development as it is facing now. And the reasons are well known to all.
The drive to diversify the economy away from oil, which has been its major revenue earner, has assumed a new urgency, if not an emergency. With the drop in oil revenue and the attendant budget deficits, the country is pressed to explore other available revenue sources to bridge the gap in order to avert a subversion of the economic and social order.
Achieving this vision in an increasingly connected and urbanised society where citizens have become more technologically sophisticated is the challenge of the Nigerian civil service today. And this what informs the import what the Head of the Civil Service (HoS) of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita is striving to achieve with the reforms he is introducing into the service.
Oyo-Ita rightly noted that public expectations of government has reached an all-time high and the Federal Public Service needs to change its narrative when interacting with Nigerians who are demanding more accountability at all levels of government especially as regards the quality of public service delivery.
The driving agenda for the bureaucracy in an era of change, she continues to stress, must be efficiency, effectiveness and integrity in the delivery of services to the country and its citizens. She wants to see a more dynamic institution striving to meet the reasons for its very existence. These ideals are at the core of her reform agenda which is to make the civil service develop the capacity to articulate the required vision in sync with the political leadership, the roadmap for its implementation and execution of the roadmap.
That was why a new ethos of Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-centred ( EPIC) civil service was recently unveiled by the Head of Service. The envisaged new direction is captured in the 2017-2019 Strategy of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation anchored on four strategic goals. The strategy is in consonance with Pillar Four of the National Strategy for Public Service Reforms which is focused on Civil Service Administration Reforms.
The Head of Service enumerated the four cardinal goals of her tenure to be: Develop and Institutionalise an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-centered (EPIC) Culture in the Civil Service; Design and Implement an Enterprise Content Management System (ECM); Develop Entrepreneurial Culture and Commercial Orientation in the Civil Service and Improve Welfare and Benefit Packages for Civil Servants. She further gave the goals and their deliverables as follows:
GOAL 1: Develop and Institutionalise an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-centered (EPIC) Culture in the Civil Service
The EPIC civil servant shall be seen as Efficient in relation to the outputs produced and the inputs used. In this new era, we must be seen as efficient by producing the maximum possible outputs given the inputs, or that we are producing a certain level of output with the minimum amount of inputs or resources provided by government; Productive in the volume of service rendered within a period ; Incorruptible and Citizen-centred.
GOAL 2: Design and Implement an Enterprise Content Management System (ECM)
This goal will ignite a digital service delivery revolution in the management of our records and development of digital service strategy to facilitate online and real-time delivery of service to the citizenry. This will ensure full automation of records and civil service content such that systems are robust, up to date, and fit for purpose, thus eliminating duplications and harmonising staff records across the service
Already, the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) Human Resources (HR) module is being implemented with a new set of data capturing and authorisation controls for enhanced integrity and minimal leakages. This will also promote checks and balances between HR and payroll to result in reduction of wastages and unwholesome practice in our payroll system.
GOAL 3: Develop Entrepreneurial Culture and Commercial Orientation in the Civil Service
The service must be a facilitating partner to the economic diversification drive of government. This goal is aimed at transforming the civil service from being perceived as cost centers to revenue earners. Most Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have latent capacity to create wealth and generate revenue. MDAs will be transformed to a state where they generate viable business strategies and commercialise these ideas to generate revenue for the government.
This goal will ensure that the civil service and MDAs become idea generation powerhouses thus complementing the private sector in creating business opportunities for government and citizens. The age long conception that the Civil Service cannot engage in viable commercial activities is fast giving way to new orientation in strong bureaucracies as United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia to mention a few. These countries require mainstream service to be commercially- oriented. This innovation will require the optimisation of activities in latent commercially viable operations of MDAs.
GOAL 4: Improve Welfare and Benefit Packages for Civil Servants
Presently, we have a civil service where staff have limited or no support towards sustainable housing and the thought of retirement becomes a nightmare. Most civil servants are in a situation where decent housing is unaffordable. We are currently finding innovative ways to address all of these.
Under Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, shelter is identified most important after food. Therefore, it is important to have a civil service that has housing support-base built on stakeholder collaboration, pooling of resources, access to facilities and availability of low, single digit mortgage loan. This we have developed under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.
The strategic outcome of these goals is to ensure greater contributions of the Civil Service to a diversified national economy, full implementation of government policies and programmes, and enhancement of the standard of living and quality of life for all.
– Ume wrote in through firstname.lastname@example.org