Partnering BPSR for efficient, timely service delivery in Benue
By Bridget Ikyado
It is universally accepted that the civil service is the engine room of any government. It drives government policies, programmes and governance processes. The effectiveness and efficiency of the civil service invariably determine the success of government in terms of service delivery to the public.
For the people of Benue State, the civil service has for long been at its lowest, with workers working for not more than two days in a week, operating in difficult environment and not getting paid as at when due.
This is however gradually changing since Governor Hyacinth Alia assumed duty on May 29, 2023.
The governor has made his vision for the civil service very clear: total reform. Automated, equipped, and motivated to offer world class services to the public.
This clearly means a total break from the past, and a return to putting the people first in terms of efficient and timely service delivery.
When governor Alia met with Head of Ministries, Departments and Agencies and Units of the state civil service recently, his message was for the civil servants to embrace the culture of diligence, hard work accountability, transparency, confidentiality, discipline and team work.
“Accountability has to be built in your heart, the confidentiality we used to have in the service needs to be returned, and as we take charge of our lifestyle, so should the job be.
“If you show at work late, close when you want or you are absent, how do you want your subordinates to act differently?
“I am here to serve you and the state; you have accepted the job to also serve the state in various capacities, I call for a uniform style of work to justify the prompt payment of salaries.
“We need to revive, revamp and reform the civil service and we have to change the narrative.
“We must recaliberate to avoid embarrassing scenes and situations, this administration will not tolerate laziness and truancy”, he emphasised.
In a nutshell, the governor is focused on total reform of the civil service, which is in tandem with the mandate of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), a government agency set up to reform the public service in Nigeria.
Its mode of operation is building synergy with governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to reform their work attitude and ensure that services rendered impact the generality of the people.
The Director General of BPSR, Mr Dasuki Ibrahim Arabi, is very keen on such partnership, saying the BPSR firmly believe in the power of collaboration and partnership among government agencies.
“Our commitment to interagency cooperation is rooted in the understanding that together we can tackle challenges more effectively and innovate for the greater good of our fellow citizens,” Dasuki said.
The statutory responsibilities of BPSR is to initiate action on reforms at the public service level, coordinate, monitor and evaluate implementation of the reforms in MDAs.
It was set up basically to initiate, coordinate and ensure full implementation of public service reforms in Nigeria.
The Bureau’s vision is to drive change that will position Nigeria’s Public Service as an institution of excellence, and building it to be highly functional, professional, customer-focused and result-oriented.
This tallies with the vision of Governor Alia to reform the Benue State civil service and raise the productivity of the state workforce.
The governor has emphasised that the reforms of the state civil service is not only to ensure efficiency in delivering services to the public, but also track the performance of workers for rewards or sanctions.
Already, the Benue State Government has taken steps to reengineer the service through prompt payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities, and improving the work environment through the rehabilitation of the State Secretariat and other government offices.
He has also given directive for weekly meetings with staff to know their areas of strength and weaknesses, provision of affordable houses, and loans for small businesses and farming through the state Micro Finance Bank.
Echoeing the administration’s focus, the State Deputy Governor, Barrister Sam Ode, said there will be regular training and retraining of civil servants for optimal service delivery.
“Gone are the days when civil service was grounded, offices locked, non payment of salaries, and work days reduced to two as workers spend three days on their farms,” the deputy governor added.
These reform initiatives would be fully enhanced if the state government tap on the expertise of the Bureau for Public Service Reform to drive the administration’s reform agenda for the good of Benue people.
Doing so will be a huge step in delivering the 7-Point agenda of Governor Alia administration.
…Ikyado, is the Principal Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Benue on
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