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Orosanye Report ‘ll Ensure Fundamental Changes In Civil Service—Buhari

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja said the public service remains the engine room of government, and should attract the “best and brightest’’ that would fuel policies with fresh ideas, while assuring that the Orosanye White Paper Report would be implemented, after review.

This was contained in a statement issued by SpecialAdviser to the President on Media nad Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

“I have directed that the Orosanye White Paper Report be subjected to immediate review to enable Government take the most appropriate decision on its general recommendation,’’ the President told the Central Working Committee of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) at the Presidential Villa.

“I am aware that the review is about to be completed. While some may complain about the length of time it has taken thus far, the outcome of the various review teams would lead to some fundamental changes in the structure of our Civil Service and as such it must be subjected to rigorous review and scrutiny before presentation and implementation,’’ he added.

The President said that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation would submit the harmonized white paper once it has been concluded.
He assured that the administration remains focused on strengthening the service and ensuring it helps the government fulfill its objectives.
The President noted that the government understands the role of the Civil Service in policy formulation and implementation towards the provision of socio-economic and political benefits to our citizens.

On request for salary review for civil servants by the committee, the President acknowledged the urgent need for a general salary review in the Federal Public Service due to worldwide problems of high inflation amidst general economic disruption.

“However, I wish to urge you to appreciate the revenue constraints being presently faced by Government which is caused mainly by the activities of unscrupulous citizens through the theft of our crude oil, a major contributor to our revenue base.

“This is compounded by global economic downturn as a result of the on-going Russian – Ukrainian war, which has led to price increases not just in the costs of goods and services globally, but also in the transportation of these goods and services across the globe.

“You are also aware of the enormous burden placed on our finances by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Furthermore, let me note the significant investment we have had to make in security over the last seven years, which means other sectors of the economy have not been able to receive as much funding as we would have liked. Only when our country is secured, that we are able to proceed and take on other aspects of our economic challenges,’’ he added.

President Buhari explained that investment in security assets had been at a huge cost, after several decades of negligence.

“However, my confidence in the Nigerian Armed forces is unshaken, and I have tasked the Chief of Defense Staff and his service chiefs to take the war to these criminals who have made life difficult for many Nigerians.

“Recent reports have shown the message is now being heard and the dividends of our seven years of investments are now maturing. I implore our forces to continue with the current effort and determination until we rid our land of these miscreants.

“I also wish to reiterate that we will not allow a few criminals to have unfettered access to the nation’s crude oil supply hence I have directed our security agencies to speedily bring to a halt the activities of these vandals in the Niger Delta,’’ the President noted.

He said that criminal activities on seas, where large vessels seek to hide in neighboring countries will be checked, stressing that “there should be no hiding place for such criminals, and our cooperation with neighboring countries in halting these crimes is being strengthened and tightened.’’

Buhari told the Central Working Committee of ASCSN that request for restoration of the payment of gratuity to public service employees was one of the landmark provisions addressed in the 2004 Pension Reform Act.

On the harmonization of salary in the Public Service, the President said a Committee was set up for that purpose, under the Minister of Finance which was still working.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said members of ASCSN had been supportive in actualizing programmes and policies of the administration, describing the leadership as mostly public servants that were vast in civil service procedure, “so when you negotiate with them it is easy and when you make the right point they know.’’

In his remarks, the President of ASCSN, Dr Tommy Okon, noted that the administration had been “worker- friendly’’ with implementation of far reaching reforms, which include regular payment of salaries and allowances, increase in minimum wage, extension of retirement age for some workers, like teachers, and sustenance of the size of public service in spite of constraints of financing.

Okon called for an increase in salaries of civil servants, following increasing cost of living, restoring full payment of gratuity at retirement, harmonization of public service salaries and allowances, and increase in the budget of the National Housing Fund.

He said the increasing cost of living had made it difficult for many public servants to carry on in spite of the minimum wage review, advising that benefits of all public servants should also be harmonized for fairness.

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