Features/Spotlight

Reforming Nigeria's civil service for effective service delivery

Supreme Desk
30 July 2022 8:54 PM GMT
Reforming Nigerias civil service for effective service delivery
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According to Yemi-Esan, the scheme is also aimed at addressing some critical issues in the Federal Civil Service, focusing on capacity building and talents management, performance management system, IPPIS and human resource management, innovation, digitisation and staff welfare.

In the just-concluded celebration of the Civil Service Week, marked globally, the Federal Government expounded its quest to reposition the service with the unveiling of a Culture Change Video.

During the week-long celebration, the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP) from 2021 to 2025, was also inaugurated.

The pilot phase of the Federal Civil Service Bus Scheme and the ground breaking ceremony for the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH), award of the outstanding civil servants in MDAs, among others, were the high points of the event.

The theme of the 2022 Civil Service Week is "Performance Management System (PMS): Impact on Productivity.''

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, at her assumption of office, introduced several reforms to reposition the civil service for improved efficiency and professionalism.

Yemi-Esan said that the Federal Government underscored the need to introduce the FCSSIP 2021 to 2025, initiated by the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF).

She said the FCSSIP was designed to reengineer the Federal Public Service for increased productivity and quality service delivery.

According to her, the scheme is also aimed at addressing some critical issues in the Federal Civil Service, focusing on capacity building and talents management, performance management system, IPPIS and human resource management, innovation, digitisation and staff welfare.

"The Federal Government, however, through the office of the HOCSF, has recorded some of the achievements in its quest to turn the civil service to an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-centred (EPIC) world class service.

"This was achieved through some innovative and proactive programmes and policies under the flagship programme of FCSSIP,'' she said.

Yemi-Esan said the commemoration of civil service week provided a platform for African nations and Nigeria in particular to recognise the value and virtue of service to the community.

The celebration, according to Yemi-Esan, will provide opportunity to highlight and share best practices on how to reposition the service for enhanced performance.

She explained that the theme for 2022 celebration was adopted as an innovative way of not only getting more work done efficiently and effectively, but also ensure objective way of measuring performance of individual civil servant across board.

"This is why far-reaching efforts are being made in the Nigeria Civil Service to replace the subjective Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) with PMS.

"Hence, the choice of the theme is informed by the need for us to highlight the importance of PMS and galvanise action towards its emplacement in the service."

President Muhammadu Buhari who also spoke at the event, said he was delighted to celebrate Nigerian civil servants at the occasion of civil service week, not only to symbolically commemorate the day.

He expressed delight about the ongoing efforts to return the civil service to its pride of place in delivering efficient and effective services to the nation.

Buhari described the present crop of Nigeria's civil servants as engine room of government and commended them for partnering the government in driving the implementation of its programmes, in spite of difficult economic situation.

"I want to specially appreciate your commitment and dedication during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which your professionalism contributed significantly to contain the spread of the virus to the wonder of the global community."

Speaking on the significant of the FCSSIP initiative, Buhari explained that the initiative was approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2021, with the aim of transforming the nation's civil service into a world class service for accelerated development.

"The Culture Change Video will go a long way to reinforcing some of the competencies required for improved service delivery and it is a tool for sensitising the civil servants on the required attributes.

"The FCSSIP 2021 to 2025, which I am also going to launch today, contains the initiatives for transforming the civil service into a world class service for accelerated development."

According to him, the theme "Performance Management System (PMS): Impact on Productivity,'' is focused on a self-introspection of how the means of assessing what the civil servant "does on a daily basis'' and would affect the generality of the public service and by extension, Nigerians.

The president, nevertheless, assured the civil servants of his administration's commitment to improve the civil service.

"Accordingly, I have set up the Presidential Committee on Salaries to harmonise salaries service-wide.

"It is my hope that the outcome of the committee's work will provide the impetus for an upward review of the salaries of deserving civil servants, having recently increased the Duty Tour Allowance of all civil servants as a starting point."

Some stakeholders have hailed the planned reposition of the civil service, saying it was long overdue.

They attributed the poor state of the civil service to years of poor remuneration.

They said that the civil service reform was necessary, as it would improve efficiency, effectiveness, professionalism and democratic character of the civil service.

A civil servant, Mr Emmanuel Usoh, commended the Federal Government for its innovative projects and reformation programmes, but called for urgent harmonisation of salaries and emoluments of all government agencies.

Usoh also appealed to the government to create conducive working environment for public workers.

"Yes, it is true that the present government through the introduction of reform programmes wants to strengthen the civil service.

"But my worry is that for how long shall we continue to work with out dated equipment in our offices?

"Some of us cannot boast of computer sets in our offices, let alone comfortable office spaces. "

Another civil servant, Mrs Margaret Benson, also appealed to the Federal Government to fast-track the implementation of the salary harmonisation, adding that many civil servants are feeling disillusioned working in the system.

"With workers in organisations such as NNPC, CBN, NDIC among others, receiving better packages than the rest of us, how can we cope with the present high cost of living?

"It is discouraging seeing someone you are on the same level, the same academic qualification, but he is earning more than you, are we not working for the same government?

"I will appeal, as we are made to understand that the FCSSIP contents will also affect staff welfare, let government do something about this harmonisation to boost the morale of other civil servants," Benson said.

Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who spoke, described PMS as a 'pace-setting system' that distinguishes serious and forward-looking organisations aspiring to reach the pinnacle in a 21st century competitive world.

According to Oyeyemi, who was a guest lecturer, PMS clearly articulates the vision, goals and objectives of an organisation and stipulates ways of achieving them via strategic focus, without undermining human resource capacity as key variable to their realisation.

Using the FRSC as a case study, he listed planning, monitoring, development and improvement, periodic rating, feedback mechanism and continuous improvement as key elements to the successful implementation of PMS.

Commending the head of service for taking a bold step in the implementation of PMS, Oyeyemi viewed it as a right step in the right direction towards enhancing productivity.

In all, the strategic plan by the Federal Government is to reform and reposition the age-long institution for better service delivery to Nigerians.

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