Civil Service is Key to Economic Stability – Osinbajo

  • As FG unveils new civil service reform, Says Yemi-Esan

By Hillary Asemota

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has revealed that the stability of Nigeria’s economic is a functionality of its civil service even as he stretched it to other nation irrespective of their geographical location.

Osinbajo, acknowledged that everything that happens to the civil service has a direct impact on the economy hence, the need to structure the civil service to be able to serve the people better.

This is coming even as the federal government has initiated a number of reform initiatives so as to evolve a new civil service that is professional, meritocratic and one driven by technology for sustainable national development.

The Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, disclosed this in a key note address delivered at the first Special lecture for the leadership Enhancement and Development Programmed (LEAD-P) participants held on Thursday, in Abuja

Yemi Esan, added that the service is leveraging on LEAD-P, other reform initiatives as well as a culture Change and Change Management Movement in the service to drive the initiative.

She explained that the leadership Enhancement and Development Programme (LEAD-P) is a talent programme that entailed the engagement of local, foreign facilitators and industry experts to drive the initiative.

The programme, she added, entails rotational postings and attachments of officers across public service clusters  

A key objective of LEAD-P is to further expose participants and enable them gain multi-sectoral experience so as to deepen understanding of their roles in the growth and development of the country, especially as they pertain to promoting the Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Yemi Esan further explained 

The LEAD-P training is structured into 3 broad stages

which are: A rigorous 4–stage selection process, involving assessments in Public Service and General Knowledge, Verbal/Quantitative reasoning, case studies, psychometric test and oral interview, 8 weeks of intensive contact training using updated generic and sectoral modules; and 20 weeks of rotational posting to Public and Private Sector Organizations, on Internship.

“The emergence of the 121 participants from a thorough selection process and the high demand for their services coming from all sectors, is a clear indication that the Civil Service is blessed with abundant talents, skilled and knowledgeable officers who can favorably compete with their peers globally.” Yemi Esan, added. 

She continued: “Part of our vision is to always have a crop of elite officers whom we can confidently deploy as Special/Technical Assistants to the offices of political office holders and other strategic establishments to facilitate the delivery of their organizational mandates. This is why the LEAD-P curriculum was designed to expose participants to a broad spectrum of sectors.”

Other service wide capacity building initiatives being implemented in the service, she added, include: The Structured Mandatory Assessment-Based Training Programme (SMAT-P) which is a Career Development Training Programme for officers on GL 07–17.

The HoS, noted that about 2,000 officers have been trained under the Service-wide programme since 2019 and plans have been concluded to train about 17,000 officers annually in the service from this year to 2025 under the new Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP 25).

This will involve online courses to enable the participation of more officers including those outside the country, in addition, there is the induction training for newly recruited officers where over 1,700 personnel have been trained. The induction training will be up scaled under the New FCSSIP to clear the backlog of about 3,000 yet to be inducted officers within the year, he added.

(iii) The co-ordination of Training programmes for MDAs is being done through the design and defence of annual training plans, the approval of such plans and the monitoring of implementation by officials from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. In 2020, despite the COVID-19 challenge, over 20,000 officers were trained across the MDAs and the report for 2021 is being put together.

According to her, the training of officers for Conversion to Planning Officers Cadre has commenced, stressing that the initiative was conceived with the aim of closing the capacity gaps within the Cadre. The training of the first batch of 257 officers have been concluded while selection process for the second batch has commenced.

She expressed appreciation to the Vice-President for his inspiration, support, counsel and immense contribution to the development of the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021-2025 (FCSSIP 25). 

She also appreciated the remarkable support of the legislative arm of government through the Chairman, Senate committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, and that of the House of Representatives Engr. Sani Bala, who have built and maintained a very cordial relationship with the office.

She also thanked the secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, for strongly supporting and encouraging the Office reform initiatives as well as tracking the implementation of the administration’s agenda.

She also appreciated the African Initiative for Governance heeded by Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede for collaborating with her office in the advancement of the civil service.

She finally pledged to continue the implementation of reforms with great velocity and commitment to national development.

Speaking on strategic leadership, Osinbajo challenged LEAD-P participants to see themselves as future leaders. He said the prosperity of the nation is compromised when civil servants are not effective and efficient.

Using the Executive Order 001 as a case study, the Vice President said that in order to achieve the ease of doing business in the country, every sector needed to be carried along by each government agency involved.

Osinbajo, advised LEAD-P participants to exhibit strategic leadership in planning and implementing government programmes and policies by ensuring synergy with the Organized Private Sector and other government establishment.

Maintaining that there was no point having a civil service that is not functioning, Prof. Osinbajo said all efforts must be put in place to ensure better remuneration and welfare for civil servants. 

He said the best and quality hands cannot be attracted to the service without good remuneration and welfare, adding that there must also be sanctions for indiscipline. 

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha said the civil service is not a dumping ground for incompetent individuals rather it is for the most skilled and most informed who will be able to implement the policies and programmes of the government.

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