The implementation of Rule 021210 which provides for a new tenure system is generating rumpus in the nation’s civil service.
Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Dr Folasade Femi-Esan, had on July 27, 2023, reportedly instructed some permanent secretaries, as well as the accountant-general of the Federation (AGF) and the Auditor-General of the Federation (AoGF), to implement the rule without further delay.
But a wide spectrum of workers in the civil service are insisting that at no time did former President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approve the compulsory retirement of permanent secretaries and directors who have put in eight years in the civil service.
Already, workers in the medical profession have embarked on a week-long warning strike to protest what they described as an obnoxious unilateral policy by the HoSF.
At the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), tongues are wagging, with a majority of the affected and serving directors already drafting petitions to Dr Esan, asking her to review the tenure policy which they insist is without foundation.
They cited the non-availability of circular to back up such a policy in proof that she acted unilaterally.
Investigations have shown that the civil servants may be correct that neither former President Buhari nor the FEC gave approval to any tenure policy in the approval obtained for the Revised Public Service Rules and Duty Tour Allowance, the major gravamen of the discontent in the system.
For instance, on August 27, 2021, a four-page memo with reference number EC (2021)238 sent to FEC by the president titled, “Approval for the Revised Public Service Rules, 2021 and Duty Tour Allowance”, indicate that only the issue as stated in the title was presented at FEC, and there was no mention of the tenure of permanent secretaries or directors mentioned anywhere in the memo.
Similarly, the nine-page EC Conclusion spread across 507 paragraphs discussed only the two aforementioned matters.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the revised PSR contains 17 chapters, spanning across appointment and leaving the service, prescribed examination for confirmation (virtual exams), emoluments and increments, performance management system, reward for outstanding work, virtual meetings and engagements, petitions, and appeals, allowances, compensation, inventions, compensation and insurance, among others.
The highlight of the differences with the 2018 Public Service Rules included the Performance Management System which replaced the old Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER); Reward for Outstanding Work to Institutionalise Reward Recognitions Scheme (R&RE) in the Federal Public Service; Training and Capacity Development to provide more opportunities for continuous training and capacity development for enhanced service delivery, among other.
It further contained recommendations by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), sent to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (MFB&NP) and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) for “a no-objection”.
Consequently, FEC approved new DTA ranging from N10,000 up from N5,000 for salary grade levels 01 to 04; N25,000 up from N12,000 (N16,000) for salary grade levels 14 to 15, ending at N80,000 up from N35,000 for Ministers, SGF, HSF and equivalent.
An innovation of the approved 2021 PSR is the introduction of Paternity Leave, to allow male workers to bond with their newborn children or adopted children of no more than four months old. This particular leave was solely enjoyed by the female workforce, which the approved PSF introduced.
These were the key highlights of the HSF memo presented by the President to the FEC and approved in 2021, which now has the eight-year tenure issue surreptitiously inserted, thereby raising some hairs.
However, the director of Information in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mohammad Ahmed, explained that the rules have always been there and that only some provisions were revised and sent to the former president, Muhammad Buhari for approval.
“The tenure of permanent secretaries and directors has always been there and has been brought back, which was reported before in the media. So, there is no confusion about it. The rules were revised and sent to the former President, Muhammad Buhari and he approved it,” he said.