Thursday, 23 April 2015

Dr Joe Abah QUOTE: "There is a need for the public service to focus on the service to the public and not service to the public servants."

Dr Joe Abah, DG, Bureau of Public Service Reforms was a guest of AIT station on its 'Global Business' programme. Transcript of the interview were made available in two parts - Part 1 and Part 2.  Below are two  profound answers given by Dr Abah to questions at the interview. 

AIT: Now lets look at attitude because as you have said, the public service is supposed to render service. You and I know that beyond the cliche of giving sweeping statements, there are differences between the way the public sector renders service as juxtaposed with the way private institutions provides service. How are you trying to reform the minds of the Nigerian public servant as regards to services rendered? 

DG: I think you are absolutely right, but then again I think you are making yet another sweeping statement that the private sector has better service delivery than the public sector. I don’t get better services from private airlines when I fly. They delay my flights with no apologies or compensations. They don’t bother to give legitimate reasons for flight delays and would tell you it’s due to operational reasons, as though that is enough for someone who has spent four to five hours to board a flight. Again, we must be careful when we make statements like this. 

AIT: Forgetting that sweeping statement, l believe you know what service is all about. Let us concentrate on the public service.

DG: There is a need for the public service to focus on the service to the public and not service to the public servants because a lot of what we do is focused on ourselves and quite often, the Nigerian public is the last thing on any body's mind. We need to change that and one of the ways of implementing that change is to put in place a new performance management system that actually sets out what you come to do in work on a Monday morning, what you are expected to achieve, measures of whether you have achieved that, and that affects your advancement, whether in terms of promotion of redeployment, based on what you have actually delivered. This is a scheme we are putting in place, working with the office of the Head of Service, the Federal Civil Service Commission, and the National Planning Commission and we hope to launch that this year because you can appeal to people's sensibility and say look, this should be patriotic, we should focus on the citizens, but unless it affects their pockets, or the way they can advance their careers, they will not take you seriously. 

This is why we are putting together the performance management system that will actually affect the ability of the public servant to advance in their career.

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