By Amina Abdullahi Girbo
………Warns them against engaging in partisan politics
…….Reiterates commitment to restoring lost glory of civil service
Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State on Tuesday reiterated the unwavering commitment of his administration towards restoring the lost glory of the state’s civil service through actualization of a knowledge-driven service.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony of the 12 newly appointed Permanent Secretaries at the new Banquet hall, Government House Bauchi, the governor regretted that at the moment, the service has lost the culture of commitment, dedication, selflessness and sacrifice.
Governor Bala Mohammed stressed the need for civil servants to be acquainted with the norms and values of the service to avoid trial and error in the discharge of their duties and tasked Permanent Secretaries, Directors and indeed all cadres of the civil service to be conversant with public service rules, Financial Instructions, Stores Regulations and extant circulars so as to be properly guided against committing avoidable infractions.
“Misconduct and declining productivity in the civil service are due to lack of proper monitoring and supervision.
The Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) which is supposed to be the barometer for gauging the conduct and performance of civil servants is being flagrantly abused to the extent that it has become a mere formality done only for the purpose of promotion without consideration for the actual performance or conduct of the officers reported upon.
“It is worrisome that Heads of Personnel of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies could not even care to ensure that APERS are administered to their staff on regular basis.
There are instances where the APERS are administered in arrears of two to three or more years. Even where the APERS are administered, there are also instances where habitual truants, indolent or inefficient officers are rated favorably inspite of their glaring shortcomings.
“Consequently, civil servants no more earn their promotion, but they simply wait to attain the minimum number of years for promotion to the next grade level, regardless of their conduct or performance.
This ignoble practice must stop. The Head of Civil Service and Special Adviser on civil service are hereby directed to take appropriate action to address the anomaly.”
The Governor explained that the 12 new Permanent Secretaries have been appointed after passing the prescribed civil service examination and in consideration of their satisfactory conduct and performance as Directors and urged them to practically demonstrate their competence and justify their appointments by effectively and efficiently discharging their duties as Permanent Secretaries.
According to him, besides being the accounting officers of their Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the Permanent Secretaries are advised on the implementation of government policies and programmes based on the extant rules of the Civil Service and called their attention to, as of necessity, subordinate themselves to the political leadership of their Ministries, Departments and Agencies and work harmoniously with them for effective service delivery.
“As civil servants, the Permanent Secretaries should uphold the culture of neutrality and loyalty to the government of the day. Under no circumstance should they involve themselves in partisan politics.
As accounting officers of their Ministries, Departments and Agencies, they should live above board and make accountability and transparency their watchwords. They should resist the temptation to misappropriate public funds or engage in activities capable of bringing the government into disrepute.”
He assured that as a responsible and responsive government, his administration has resolved to restore sanity to the civil service so as to get the State back on track, thereby putting a stop to the syndrome of business as usual and promised that the state government would not hesitate to invoke the full wrath of public service rules on any civil servant, including Permanent Secretaries, found wanting in the discharge of his or her duties.
Governor Bala Mohammed also reiterated the commitment of his administration to provide conducive working environment to civil servants and assured to do more in due course to provide civil servants with adequate office equipment and furniture to ease their work and ensure job satisfaction.
On the backlog of gratuity owed to both State and Local Government retirees, the Governor disclosed that from 2019 to date, Five Billion, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Seven Naira, Sixty Seven Kobo (N5,835,985,487.67) to reduce the backlog in addition to the N800,000,000:00 recently released for the same purpose.
He assured that with the adoption of the contributory pension scheme by the State Government, his administration is working towards going to the capital market to float a loan or approach PENCOM to liquidate the backlog of gratuity and therefore appealed to senior citizens who have spent better part of their lives in the service of the State to exercise more patience as Government strive to pay their gratuity once and for all.
Responding on behalf of the sworn in Permanent Secretaries, Ahmed Ali Ranga, Permanent Secretary, Political Research and Economic Affairs, office of the Secretary to the State Government, expressed gratitude to Governor Bala Mohammed for finding them worthy of the elevation and promised to justify the confidence reposed in them.