BY EMMA UJAH
ABUJA—The Head of Service of the Federation, HoSF, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, has blamed the military and especially the administration of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), for destroying the federal civil service through his reforms between 1985-1988.
Alhaji Sali who spoke at the opening of the 36th Annual Conference of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, ICSAN, explained that the reform which was carried out following the report of Prof. Dotun Philips was largely responsible for the current rot in the service.
According to the HoS, that reform created room for unqualified people to take up top positions in the service for which they had no capacity to effectively handle.
His words: “The subsequent reforms of 1985-88 which arose from the recommendations of the Dotun Philip report was given legal effect through Decree 43 of 1988. The legislation paved the way for all comers into the top echelon of the civil service.
“It also led to the abolition of the Office of the HSCF, whose functions were subsumed under the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the incapacitation of the Federal Civil Serrvice Commission which had most of its functions transferred to the Ministries, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies.
“The aftermath was the unbridled influx of low quality personnel into the civil service at career levels far above their competencies, knowledge, experience and capabilities. The cumulative impact of these influxes was the loss of civil service vitality, standard of performance and cohesion. This further paved the way for the culture of sidelining time-tested procedures and processes and the loss of officers’ self respect and integrity”.
According to him, the current reform of the public service has been packaged to restore the efficiency of the service and reposition it for a more efficiency service delivery and contributions to national development.
Alh. Sali regretted that policy of arbitrary salary increases over the years rather than promoting value-adding policies as a major factor that eroded the professionalism of the service
Earlier, the President of the Institute, Mr. Olatunde Busari, lamented the negative effect corruption and poor corporate governance in the public service.
He however, assured that the institute was ready work with other government organizations in the current fight against corruption and enthrone transparency at all levels of public service but called for a stronger resolve to punish corrupt persons in the country..
His words, “the hydra-headed monster called ‘corruption’ is a major issue that keeps rearing its head in all the organs of Government and agencies of Government. The malaise further ridicules the system to the extent that even when culprits are apprehended, it does not appear that we have effective machinery for thorough investigation, prosecution and sentence according to the law.
“There are various examples of private and public officers that engaged in corrupt practices and are today walking the streets as free men. This gives an impression that corruption is rewarding in our country.
“If we are to create the desired environment for investment, the Government must develop effective legal regime and structures strong enough to apprehend, investigate and prosecute corrupt officers in Nigeria”.