Friday, 2 May 2014

HoS, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji tells committee Public Service is bloated, as he lamented at bureaucracy which delays approval for national issues and projects.

The Federal Government is reviewing past policies to consider those that have failed or succeeded.

The Head of Service, Bukar Aji, who disclosed this on Tuesday when he appeared before the National Conference Committee on Public Service in Abuja, also admitted that the public service was bloated.

He said the monetisation policy on accommodation had been affecting service delivery especially in the health sector.

Aji told the Ebele Okeke-led committee that the Bureau of Public Service had started working to review all implemented policies of government and structure of agencies.

The Head of Service said, “They are also working on a document cataloging all the reforms initiative within the public service and bringing out the ones that have failed, faired and the ones that are working.

Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji

“It will analyse the monetisation policy where it failed. The clear example is monetisation of houses.

He cited Garki Hospital which was built with residential quarters for doctors, nurses and medical assistants, as an example of failed implementation of monetisation policy.

“That particular estate if you go there now you may hardly see one person fom the health sector.  It has been to monetised to people who are not working in the hospital.

“Those who are working in the hospital are now in Nyanya. When you call them for duty that is where they are coming from. They are renewing these policies either to reintroduce them or discard them.”

“The issue of welfare is a major issue and it has serious implications on the morale of civil servants,” he added.

Lamenting that the civil service had suffered from system failure, he said, “The service from one area to another has not performed as expected due to some socio-economic, political, and societal factors.

Aji lamented bureaucracy in the service which he said often delayed approval for national issues and projects.

“Parastatals do not talk to one another, there is duplications, there are lack of understanding of national objectives and policies,” he added.

On his declaration that the public service was bloated, he said government found it difficult to act because of the  unemployment huge magnitude in the country.

“But the spate of unemployment does not allow you to think of reducing the staff strength. At the same time the dwindling nature of revenue will not allow you to increase or double the salary of workers,” he said.

Aji blamed the problems in the civil service on the failure to adhere to national planning framework for sustained national development.

He said Nigeria was too much in a hurry to copy the United States by jettisoning its long term plan on national debelopment.

“No matter how beautiful the programmes and policies are, the levels of insecurity and poverty will never allow you to achieve them,” he added.

Referring to the 2014 budget of N4.9tn,  Aji said personal emolument would gulp N1.6tn.

“The  acceptable level that will motivate civil servants to give in their best is to double the N1.6tn to N3.2tn out of N4.9tn. The other sectors of the economy cannot cope with this,” he said.

Aji asked the committee to recommend ways to motivate workers in the face of dwindling resources.

He said there was the need to harmonize myriad of labour laws and put in place a framework for better industrial relations.

This, it said, had created a lot of problems in the country especially in the educational sector.

He emphasised the need for citizen education, redefining the practical dimensions of separation of power and strengthening of the national planning framework for sustained national development.

He also called for institutional renewal to restore the pride and professionalism of the service as the engine room of governance and service delivery.

He also stressed the need for continuous development of human resources within the Public Service and the enhancement of competitive wage structure and overall welfare.

“Similarly is the need to define more clearly the boundaries of power, authority and functions between top government functionaries such as Ministers, Special Advisers/Assistants, permanent secretaries for a more harmonious working relationship”, Aji added.

(Source - Punch)

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