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Osinbajo wants ‘big, bold’ reforms in civil service

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for the reform of the Nigerian Civil Service saying that to achieve that “we need to do something bold and big that will make a difference.”

According to a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande Friday, Osinbajo made the assertion

on Thursday at the presidential villa, Abuja when he received a brief on the Federal Civil Service Strategy & Implementation Plan 2021-2025, presented by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan.

The statement explained that the reform is being led by Steering and Implementation Committees with membership drawn from the public and private sectors with the engagement of development partners.

Speaking after listening to Dr Yemi-Esan’s presentation and subsequent contributions by ministers and other participants at the meeting, the Vice President noted that “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.”

The statement quoted him as saying: “I think that 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.

“We can do much more with mass housing. We have a target now of 300,000 houses under our ESP social housing scheme. 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.”

“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.”

Making the point about access to affordable homes being one of the easiest ways to get people out of poverty, Prof Osinbajo said “it is a vital part of what we are trying to do”, noting that “we must address it. A civil servant ought to be able to own a home, and justify to his family the reason why he went for the job.”

Relating his experience while serving as Attorney General in Lagos State, Prof. Osinbajo said that like what was done with the reform of the Lagos State Judiciary, 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.

Earlier in her presentation, Dr Yemi-Esan 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.

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation said the current reform in the Federal Civil Service has enabled the government to save huge sums through the verification of personnel payroll and digitization of some operations, among others.

The Head of Service would continue to lead the reform process as the 2021-2025 plan goes forward to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

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