Enforcing the Change Agenda via public service reform

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The present administration promotes “Change” as the lead slogan of its electioneering, aimed at zero tolerance for corruption, effective service delivery, discipline and good attitude to work, among other values.

Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, observe that to make the Change mantra efficient, the civil service should be reformed accordingly.

In a lecture entitled: “The Role of Civil Service in a Change Environment: The Change is now,’’ she said part of her reform plan and strategy was to make public servants efficient, productive and incorruptible.

Oyo-Ita, therefore, pledged to adopt innovative approach in civil service operations to promote efficient service delivery in the country.

 

 

“Nigeria is blessed with a government that wants to do things differently, focusing on core needs of the country and citizenry.

“There is no better time than now in this new challenging environment to change the service for the better by leveraging on the support and political will of the present government.

“This is an opportunity to restore hope and dignity to the service by reversing the current perceived reputation for inefficiency, low productivity, corruption and insensitivity to the needs of the public,’’ she said.

She explained that the public expectations of government had reached an all-time high due to an increasingly connected society, urbanisation and sophistication of citizens leveraged by the fast-evolving technology and social media.

 

 

“The Federal Public Service needs to change its narrative when interacting with Nigerians who are demanding more accountability at all levels of government as regards the quality of public service delivery.

“The service will reinvent itself by rising to the occasion as demanded; the challenge of socio-economic and infrastructural development in Nigeria has required fresh ideas to tackle,’’ she said.

According to her, development of entrepreneurial culture, commercial orientation, the improvement of welfare and benefit packages for civil servants is paramount in the government’s scheme of things.

She said she recently signed an agreement with the Africa Initiative for Governance, a non-governmental organisation established with the aim of inspiring public sector transformation in Africa to enhance service delivery.

She said the agreement would create a platform that would allow consultants to come on board and train civil servants to be efficient in the course of their jobs to grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She explained that the partnership with the organisation would help the Head of Service actualise the various reforms embedded in its plans over the years by engaging in capacity building programme for public service.

“This is the time of intellect, many developed nations don’t have oil and they depend on knowledge for their economic growth and we are ready to partner with the private sector to achieve growth.

“There is a mysterious connection between how well the public service performs and the GDP of a nation and if we don’t get it right, we will continue to suffer as a poor nation.

“Fund constraint has made civil servants of these days to be unexposed and not up to date with global standards but this partnership would address all these challenges,’’ she said.

Commending this effort, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Founder Africa Initiative for Governance, said the agreement would enhance service delivery in Nigeria.

He explained that the organisation would also sponsor world class consultants in capacity building programme for public servants.

Aig-Imoukhuede said that inability to pay international consultants was a major factor contributing to the underdevelopment of Africa.

He observed that the Head of Service had developed a 2017/2019 strategic plan aimed at revolutionising the civil service of the federation across different areas.

“The power of knowledge that exists in the private sector is tremendous and the government has not recognised this for it to harness the knowledge.

“We want to ensure we remove the constraints between the public sector and private sector by this agreement and make sure Nigeria succeeds,’’ he said.

To achieve effective Changed Agenda in public service reform, the Service Compact with all Nigerians (SERVICOM) has reiterated its commitment to promote an effective citizen- focused service delivery in ministries departments and agencies.

Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli, the National Coordinator of SERVICOM, said the service would also address the challenges of service failure in the public sector.

She said the agency would embark on evaluation of services in the ministries departments and agencies to collect adequate report of service delivery and provide solutions to failures.

“We want to provide awareness on the side of service providers and service takers engaging them meaningfully so that they can challenge themselves to get the service providers to do what they are employed to do.

“We will deploy our troops for the mystery shopping experience, where we go and evaluate quality of services and we will then work out strategies for improvement,’’ she said.

Akajemeli said SERVICOM was collaborating with the Nigeria Educational Research Development Council to ensure the inclusion of SERVICOM programmes in the school curriculum.

Similarly, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, promised to track the process of obtaining Driver’s Licence, International Passport and the certificates of National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC) to curb corruption.

Dr Joe Abbah, Director-General of the organisation, said the tracking would ensure efficient and effective service delivery.

He added that citizens would also be enlightened on how to follow the due process in acquiring their licences to ensure that officers would not take undue advantage of ignorant Nigerians.
Abbah announced that the official price for renewing a three year Driver’s Licence was N6, 350 while that of five years was N10, 450.

“We have been working with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) the National Management Identity Management Commission, NAFDAC and other agencies, to track their licensing processes.

“We are now having the actual prices of the Driver’s Licence put on at all licence processing centres.

“It is also available on the website of the FRSC and the duration for acquiring a licence will not be more than two months.

“We are also doing some work with the International Passport process; the cost of a 32-page passport is N15, 000 and a 64-page passport is N20, 000.

“We want to make it difficult for officers to abuse the system and that is by using technology and bypassing human interaction,’’ he said.

Observers, therefore, note that if these efforts aimed at reforming civil service in that regard are harnessed and implemented, sanity and decorum will return to public service delivery system.(NANFeatures)

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