The public service in Nigeria has been bogged down with various complaints such as inefficiency, poor quality of service, incompetence, corruption etc. Improving public services would mean rectifying the faults and amending the ways that public services deliver services to Nigerians. Reformation of any sector is not a one-time thing. It is a process that requires dedication from the workers, citizens and political will on the part of the government. This article is on the ways to improve public service in Nigeria.
Ways of Improving Public Service in Nigeria
Read on below:
Clear definition of Government Ministries, departments and agencies
In Nigeria, you will find many organizations that are similar in services and functions. This duplication of office negatively affects the efficiency and quality of work done by such enterprises. What happens is there is an overlapping of roles and responsibilities of different organizations and then the work hardly gets done. The government needs to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each enterprise so they can know which to hold responsibility for a particular action or inaction.
Encouraging citizen participation in Governance
The quality of service rendered by public services will be much better if citizens participated in governance and have platforms on which to express grievances and give feedback. Some countries, like in the Democratic Republic of Congo, use technology to obtain information. These ones can use their mobile phones to actively monitor, discover, and report events around them. This participatory governance helps to encourage accountability because it puts members and managers of public enterprises on their toes. It ensures the public service is committed to ensuring the citizens get the services they deserve.
Reformation of code of conduct bureau and Public service commission
The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) is an anti-corruption agency that was set up with the aim of battling corruption in the Nigerian public service. The Code of Conduct Bureau is empowered by the constitution to support the Federal Government in curtailing unethical conduct, abuse of office, and other forms of corruption in the public service. However, over the years, the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal have become tools in the hands of government officials and politicians in settling political scores. The Code of Conduct Bureau then does not make it its business to fight corruption and ensure public officers are accountable. This affects the efficiency of the public service as erring public officers go unchecked and unprosecuted as long as they are allies to the government. The first step of reforming the public service is to ensure these agencies are completely independent and free from political interference so that the provisions of the Code of Conduct can be enforced and corruption checked.
The most important input in the public service is human resources. If the people who work and provide services on behalf of the government are not well motivated, there will continue to be a poor quality of work and poor national development. In Nigeria, public servants are the least motivated to work because of their low salary and remuneration package. The government needs to review the salaries of public servants. When public servants are paid what is complimentary to the cost of living, they will show more passion towards their work which will result in improved services. It is important that the remuneration of the public sector be steadily improved to ensure efficiency.
Introducing the use of technology in the public service
The public sector in Nigeria still makes use of traditional ways in performing their functions. It is very difficult for the public sector to catch up with standards in a fast-paced technological world. The government needs to invest in Information and technological tools in order to improve the quality of services. The introduction of technological tools in public service will also help tackle the lack of innovation in the public sector.
Human Capital Development and training
The inefficiency of public servants in Nigeria can be traced to a lack of training and poor human development and management. When many get employed into public service, that is the end of training and self-development. This particularly slows down the efficiency of individual public servants because education is the driving force for national development. When one wonders why Nigeria has not been experiencing much national development, one only needs to look at how much investment is put into human capital development. The government should also invest in good quality education from the school system. You will find that many Nigerian graduates are not well learned and skilful to make useful contributions to national development.
Appointment of Public servants
Most appointment into public offices and employment into the public service is made based on political bias and nepotism. This then allows for the appointment of unqualified personnel into public sectors. Public enterprises are usually run by board of directors or administrative heads who may not have expert knowledge or experience in running an enterprise. People are also appointed into public offices without professional knowledge, ethical conduct and administrative capabilities. The government needs to ensure that appointment to public services is based on qualifications and merit rather than political affiliations and favouritism.
Public enterprises by their very nature are not founded on or operated on the principle of making profit. The primary purpose of a public enterprise is social welfare. This poses a problem in the sense that most public enterprise could run at a loss and do not make any or much profit at all. Private enterprises, on the other hand, are run for the sole purpose of making profit. Privatization is the process of partially or totally transferring control and ownership of a public enterprise (owned by the government) to the private sector. Although the privatization program in Nigeria has been bogged down by complaints and controversies, privatization can be an effective policy if the private managers have incentives to act in the public interest. Privatisation will be unsuccessful in the face of corruption and ineffective policies that cannot control the actions of private individuals.