Tuesday, 14 July 2015

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Publisher's note 

Dr Joe Abah - Director General

Bureau of Public Service Reforms

In June, we spent a lot our time reaching out to people and communicating the reforms that government undertook and it was a particularly good opportunity to be able to interact with young political science students from the University of Abuja, who were interested in the role of the leaders of tomorrow in governance. This was a particularly exciting interaction. 

We also had a Twitter conference on issues of governance, which attracted potentially up to three hundred thousand twitter users, where I made myself available for two hours for people to ask me any questions they had about issues concerning government reforms. I was very pleased that we didn’t get a lot of cynical comments. People genuinely made suggestions about how we could improve governance in the country and they also recognised the effort that the bureau and the rest of government have been making over the years.
We continue to promote the importance of the Freedom of Information act and we promoted that at the university of Abuja, but more importantly, we made sure that every single member of staff of the bureau was trained by the right to know initiative on the Freedom of Information Act, how to use it, what the exceptions are and what our responsibilities are under the act, as well as how it could be a very useful tool for curtailing corruption.
June also saw the United Nations Public Service week which BPSR took a very active role in. The theme was the role of women in the public sector, and there were very good presentations by leading thinkers on issues concerning gender equality. Incidentally, that week led to a piece of work that the BPSR is now conducting with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, about how we can help to reposition this ministry for optimal performance.
We also received a delegation from Bauchi State government, wanting to talk to BPSR about issues of reform and to exchange ideas and learn lessons. We also agreed to do more exchange visits to enable us to continue learning. This is part of a ‘community of practice’, an idea we are building up with donors that will enable BPSR to work very closely with similar bureaus at the state level. 
We also responded and participated in a civil society session on how to cut the cost of governance, organised by an organisation called CISLAC, and there we proposed issues such as the adoption of certain recommendations of the national conference, the full implementation of Orosanye report with of course guarding against any negative implications of fully implementing this report, but also looking at ways in which we can reduce government expenditure and ensure that more of government resources goes to the delivery of services to Nigerian citizens.
These are the things we focused on in June, It was a busy month, and like I have said, a lot of it was focused on reaching out to people, helping to shape our thinking on the way government comes into place.

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