HEAD of the Civil Service of the Federation, HCSF, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, has said that Nigeria’s public service sector may face numerous setbacks if it does not embrace digital technology for efficient delivery.
She stressed that the Nigerian civil service was still far behind when compared to the deployment of digitalisation in other climes.
Yemi-Esan, gave the warning at the Award Ceremony on the Third Edition of the Federal Civil Service Innovation Challenge on Thursday in Abuja.
She pointed out that digital technology is the future of the world while urging civil servants to embrace it fully.
According to her, “today’s event validates our commitment to drive an ecosystem where officers across the Nigeria Public Service are encouraged and able to exchange knowledge and access the right tools and support to translate their ideas to sustainable solutions.
“Within the field of public administration, this shift has compelled bureaucracies to seek and adopt seamless methods of operations.
“I was in Singapore about two or three months ago. We went for a public service conference which about 19 Heads of Service from different countries were in attendance.
“They were presenting new technologies they use in public administration.
“Most countries have gone far. We are still grappling with digitalisation. They were talking about Artificial Intelligence and how they were using it in public service”, she added.
She noted that innovation in the public service across the world has become increasingly popular, adding that the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has set up structures for the promotion of innovation in the Federal Civil Service.
She further explained that the fulcrum for the Civil Innovation Challenge was to bring innovative solutions to bear in addressing security challenges in the workplace and develop new methods for advancing government business through public private partnership as well as cost saving measures using modern technology.
On his part,, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office, OHCSF, Engr. Faruk Yusuf Yabo, said the recent global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional war in Ukraine with its disruptive effect on supply chains, among others, have made it more urgent for government to think out-of-the-box and embrace the culture of innovation.
According to him, “Many developing countries, including Nigeria, have now realised the need for innovation to provide customer-focused, cost effective, and updated methods to improve public service performance.
“Innovation in the Public Sector has become increasingly popular around the world as a strategy for improving governance and scaling up service quality.
“Realising the importance of Innovation in enhancing Public Service delivery, the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) in line with the 2021–2025 Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP-2025) adopted Innovation as one of the six priority initiatives required to take the Nigerian Public Sector to greater heights.
“The goal is to develop an enduring culture within the civil service for improved service delivery via dedicated innovation units and innovation challenges.
“The goal of the competition is to provide an enabling environment for Federal Civil Servants to initiate, develop and deploy creative ideas to address existing and emerging challenges within Nigeria and beyond.
“The OHCSF has also ensured that the process met the highest possible standard of transparency resulting in the emergence of excellent ideas that are both technically feasible, economically viable, and ready for implementation and scale up.”
In his remarks, Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, admonished heads of government agencies and institutions to always reward excellence in service and outstanding performance to promote competition and efficient service delivery.
Shekarau, former Governor of Kano State, who congratulated the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation for initiating the awards, urged Permanent Secretaries to encourage the staff under their supervision to participate actively in the competition.
The highpoint of the ceremony was the award of N3 million to the first place winner while the first and second runner up winners won one million, seven hundred and fifty Thousand Naira (N1,750,000) and one million Naira (N1,000,000) respectively.
The sum of two hundred thousand Naira (N200,000) was presented to the ten (10) other top performers as consolation prizes.
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