Civil Service Week And Productivity

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Rivers State Civil Servants are to continuously improve and sustain their level of productivity towards the development of the state.
That was the summary of the just concluded Rivers State Civil Service week.
The celebration as usual was marked with a number of activities. Some of these include the Head of Service Football competitions among Ministries, Thanksgiving service at the St. Cyprian Church Port Harcourt, Visit to home for the  Elderly and luncheon for top government functionaries.
The week also featured the commissioning of conveniences for civil servants built by the Head of Service at the State Secretariat, while awards were bestowed on retired directors, permanent secretaries as well as some serving civil servants.
The State Governor Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who declared the ceremony opened, said that civil servants and the government will continue to work together to improve the quality of lives in the states.
The Governor who was represented by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Wogu Boms said that the theme for the week which is, “The Public Service and the Age of Open Governance: Giving Voice to the citizens” was appropriate as its captures the synergy between government and the civil service.
According to the Governor, there can be no efficient government without an efficient civil service, while there will be no proficiency, if civil servants and heads of ministries do not work together.
He also pledged that Government will continue to support civil servants by providing conducive environment for them to operate.
The State Head of Service Barrister Samuel T. LongJohn in his address during the opening ceremony traced the origin of the celebration back to 1994 when at a Conference of all Heads of Civil Service in Africa in Tangier, Morocco, it was declared that June 23 every year be set aside to celebrate the Public Service of Africa inview of its enormous contributions to the growth and development of the continent.
Barrister LongJohn however, said that the celebration this year had to be shifted to July, owing to unavoidable circumstances.
The Head of Service said that between September 2012 when he was appointed and now, concerted efforts have been made to improve the welfare and service delivery capacity of the entire civil service workforce.
In his word, “it has often been said that one’s environment has an impact on one’s mindset and hence one’s productivity. This inform the need to improve on the work environment by embarking on a beautification therapy which has tremendously improved the aesthetics of the secretariat complex.
On the pressing problem of retirees, he said that after due consultation with the relevant department and agencies, a one-stop-shop for pension matters was set up to facilitate the documentation process.
“The shop, which has commenced operations, will no doubt ease the apprehension of workers as the assurance of getting retirement benefits without hassles”, he said.
Barrister LongJohn said that a Salary Verification Committee earlier set up has discovered gross irregularities in the application of some of the salary structures, a situation that has helped the government to save over N2.06 billion as at June 2013.
The development according to him, will result in further savings and eventually free enough funds to meet the welfare and training needs of the workforce in addition to employing more staff to fill existing vacancies.
Other achievements include the publication of codified extant circulars in the public service from the creation of the state to date.
The Chairman of the Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Sir Ngo Martyns Yellowe, who chaired the opening session described civil servants as the engine room of government.
Sir Martyns Yellowe said that the theme of the celebration was quite topical and imperative to current thinking as it provides opportunities for workers to be involved in decision making process, noting that the commission is presently repositioning the service for greater productivity.
He commended the Head of Service for some of his landmark achievements, including the suspension of the tenure policy for directors and permanent secretaries, which if implemented, will have robbed the state of capable hands as well as worsen poverty in the state.
The commission chairman particularly noted that institutions such as; Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) Rivers State Polytechnic and others will benefit from the publication of codification of circulars.
Various papers were presented by eminent scholars and retired bureaucrats. Some of these papers include; “The Worker and the Suadden Death Syndrome” by Dr. B.B. Harry, the Public Service and the Age of Open Governance; Giving Voice to the Citizens by Chief Mrs Daba Obioha and the New Tax Regime and its Impacts on Civil Sservants by Sir George Nwaeke.
Other papers also presented are; Civil Service and the Challenge of Record Keeping by Dr. L.A.B. Iyagba, Between Political and Administrative Directives: The Public Servants’ Dilemma by Chief G.W. Iroanwusi, Harnessing the Potentials of Trade Unionism for National Development by Chika Onuegbu, amongst others, Civil Servants who spoke to The Tide described the week as the best so far in the state, urging the Head of Service to sustain it.