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What is required to reform civil service, by Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that a reform of the nation’s civil service is achievable with determination to do so. He made the comment at the Presidential Villa, Abuja when he received a brief on the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021-2025, presented by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan.

“To achieve that, we need to do something bold and big that will make a difference,” he said. Specifically, the meeting was for briefing on the reform process in the federal civil service, which started in 2017.

The exercise is led by a steering and implementation committee, the membership of which was drawn from the public and private sectors, with the engagement of development partners.

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The meeting was attended by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN); Ministers of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; Ministers of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba; and Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu.

The Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, some of Nigeria’s development partners, including officials of the World Bank and the President of the Africa Initiative for Governance, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede (a private sector representative and member of the steering committee) were also present.

After listening to Yemi-Esan’s presentation and subsequent contributions by ministers and other participants, the Vice President noted: “It is evident that perhaps, for the first time in a long time, some very serious attention is being paid to all of the various issues in our civil service.”

According to him, “we should really do something that is bold, big and that will really make the difference in order to address some of the issues especially that of accommodation for civil servants.”

To him, we can do much more with mass housing. “We have a target now of 300,000 houses under our ESP social housing scheme. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allocated N200 billion, but we have seen that we can provide mass housing, and we can make civil servants beneficiaries of the scheme.

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“Though the housing scheme is very modest, it is the sort of thing that we can at least do, to begin to take into account the fact that everybody who worked for the civil service deserves to live in their own home. There must be a strategy for giving everybody a place to live in,” Osinbajo added.

On access to affordable homes, to get people out of poverty, Osinbajo said: “It is a vital part of what we are trying to do. We must address it. A civil servant ought to be able to own a home, and justify to his family the reason he went for the job.”

Relating his experience while serving as Attorney General in Lagos State, Osinbajo said fixing the welfare of federal civil servants would be key to addressing challenges associated with productivity and corruption.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation also presented a report on the implementation status of the Federal Civil Service Strategy Plan 2017-2021.

She identified staff welfare particularly, remuneration and housing as areas that require better focus and urgent intervention by the Federal Government.

She appealed for improved support, particularly in funding the implementation of successive strategy and implementation plans to overhaul the service for better productivity.

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