The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Dr. Abubakar Koro Muhammad, has disclosed that in the bid to implement the civil service component of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, the Office of the Head of the Federal Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) has embarked on some reforms, an exercise that has trimmed down the former six office structure with twenty-four departments into a manageable three office structure with twelve departments, and staff adequately deployed for efficient service delivery.
Dr. Muhammad, who made this known recently at an interactive session with Federal Civil Servants in Kwara State, said the structural reforms and policy development include the establishment of Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD) to be headed by a Director-General, who reports to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy/Minister of Finance; and Pension Offices of OHCSF, Customs, Immigration and Prisons Services, as well as Police Pension office and Pension Boards of all parastatals, reporting their activities to the Director-General (PTAD).
He said the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) was now headed by a Director-General who reports to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), while the Human Resource component of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) was now relocated to OHCSF from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).
According to him, the HOCSF had met with Union Executives of MDAs on arrears of 1st 28 days and promotion, allowances of staff/students in Training Centres, and staff buses, among others, informing that MDAs had been directed to settle arrears and the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board had given loans to nineteen thousand, four hundred and thirty-nine (19,439) civil servants, while more housing estates had been commissioned, just as the remaining applications were being processed.
While urging the assembly of the Federal Civil Servants based in Kwara State to take due advantage of the interactive session by presenting progressive challenges, Dr. Muhammad said, as part of the ongoing reforms in the Office of the Head of the Federation Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), all Federal Permanent Secretaries had been directed to visit their respective states of origin to interact and hold consultations with federal civil servants.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Head of Service of Kwara State, Alhaji Dabarako Muhammad, expressed his sincere appreciation to the Office of the Head of the Federal Civil Service of the Federal (OHCSF) for initiating the interactive session, the first of its kind in the history of the Civil Service in Kwara state.
He said the privilege of the interactive session would not be enjoyed alone by the MDAs based in Kwara State, the state of harmony, noting that some of the challenges in the state include pensioners in the state who were verified but had not heard any positive development and abandoned Federal Government projects in the state, which need to be revisited to enable Kwarans enjoy the dividends of democracy.
The Head of Service cited the construction of gas facilities at Oke Oyi that had been abandoned for over 20 years, and that this facility was supposed to be linked from Lagos through Ibadan so that gas could be pumped to Kwara state and redistributed to nearby areas; he also urged the Permanent Secretary to submit the case of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Patigi, which was completed some years ago but not commissioned up till now even when recruitment had been made.
On roads, Alhaji Mohammed said that all the Federal Government roads leading to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital – from Egbe to Ilorin, from Ibadan to llorin, from Ilorin to Jebba – were fast becoming death traps, adding though that the kind gesture of the Federal Government to Kwarans would not go unappreciated, especially in the areas of health and education executed through the MDG programmes.
In his votes of thanks, the Chairman of the National Forum of Heads of Federal Government Establishments, Kwara State chapter, Mallam Ibrahim Lawal, said that his appreciation goes especially to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for giving Federal Civil Servants an opportunity to express their challenges for his kind consideration.
Lawal said, except for impatience on the part of Nigerians, with the measures taken on security and efforts to put the economy on the wheel of progressive movement to the next level, there is no doubt that there is a brighter future for Nigeria with the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President.
The Forum Chairman also called on the Federal Government to take over the payment of salaries of teachers in primary and secondary schools established by the Forum of Heads of Federal Government Establishments in the state as its social responsibility to the host community.
Present at the interactive session were the Heads and members of MDAS, SA to the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Iji G. Arikpa; Controller of Works, Federal Ministry of Works, Kwara State, Engr. Omotayo O. Awosanya; Controller of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Arch. Omotosho Felix Ale; Head of Federal Information, Mrs. Shade Omoboriowo; and the Forum Secretary, Mr. Aiyedona Michael; as well as representatives of the Police, Custom, Civil Defence, Immigration, Road Safety, and Prison Service, among others.
Naseer Saeed Ategba.