Government to Bar Consultants from Core Civil Service.

Disturbed by the low morale and redundancy in the civil service due to incursion of consultants who have virtually taken over some of the responsibilities of civil servants in programmes execution, the government at federal and state levels would soon bar consultants from projects that could easily be implemented in the public service.

The decision to take appropriate measures against consultants for usurping some of the roles of civil servants was taken at the 39th Annual Conference of the Civil Service Commissions of the Federation which was held December 2009 in Minna Niger State.
The Economic Confidential gathered that most of speakers expressed their worry over the unhealthy competitions between the civil servants and consultants where the consultants are favoured in decision making with civil servants accountable to them.

The decision came a month after the federal government approved the establishment of a centralized Electronic Travel Desk in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOSF) to coordinate the issuance of tickets for official travels in all Ministries, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through civil servants who have been trained in online electronic Ticketing and Reservation System (eTRS). 

The Conference which was attended by delegates from the Federal and State Civil Service Commissions in the Federation noted that the use of Consultants, in many cases worsened the issues which they were supposed to address. The delegates therefore advised that wherever competent hands exist in the service, the use of Consultants should be severely discouraged. They also urged the Federal Civil Service Commission to some proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it relates to civil service provisions.

Chaired by Executive Chairman of Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Ambassador Ahmed Al-Gazali, the Conference recognized that the on-going public service reform is necessary for restoring the high esteem of the civil service and ensuring quality service delivery and urged that the momentum should be sustained with particular reference to reforms in ICT Sector and e-processes.

Some of the resolutions at the Conference include: that the unemployment situation, particularly among the country’s youths and able-bodied men is unacceptable and that all levels of governance should expedite action on the on-going efforts to address this challenge, with particular reference to increasing power generation capacity in the country. They also noted the wide disparity in conditions of service between the public service and the private sector and called for concerted measures to reduce the disparity as an integral component of the on-going reform.

On capacity building in the public service, the delegates observed the serious attention being given to the training and re-training of civil servants at all levels of government and urged for sustenance of the momentum in order to make the service more alive and responsive. They requested that the new training modules being prepared by the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), be made available to the states for possible adoption.

Aware of the importance of Legal Units in the conduct of the affairs of the civil service, the Conference urged states that have not established Legal Units in their Commissions, to do so as a matter of utmost importance.

At the occasion, the Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu described the Civil Service as the engine of growth and development of any nation. The Governor acknowledged that the civil service is the only institution that is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring continuity in the implementation of development policies and programmes, regardless of changes in political administration. He identified the civil service as the most robust instrument for sustaining the unity and oneness of the country. He then charged the Conference to make every effort to restore the high esteem by which the civil service was once held in the course of their subsequent deliberations.
 

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