…’Says Civil Service Reform, Our Top Priority’
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya says his government remains committed towards creating an efficient and effective civil service in Gombe State.
The governor was speaking during the swearing-in of the 12 newly appointed Permanent Secretaries and 2 Special Advisers held at the New Banquet Hall of the Government House, Gombe.
Governor Inuwa explained that the appointment of the 12 Permanent Secretaries followed the adoption of a new process and procedure which strictly followed civil service regulations as opposed to the old practices.
“It is a departure from the past where Permanent Secretaries were appointed haphazardly. In some instances, such appointments were doled out as parting gifts to retiring and retired officers. In the case of the latter, appointment letters were scandalously backdated. And this was done with no consideration to the financial implications of such actions.
“For the first time, we have in place, a template for appointments into the top echelon of the civil service. It has merit, experience, character and leadership qualities as determinants. In addition, it promotes transparency, equity, accountability, as well as inclusiveness. Each and every Local Government now has at least two Permanent Secretaries in the state service”, he noted.
The governor congratulated the new Permanent Secretaries for scaling through rigorous screening and examination processes and reaching the peak of their service.
“I congratulate you for reaching the highest position in your service as you passed through a strenuous process including well-organised preparatory capacity building workshop, written and oral examinations and were adjudged the best of the lot”, he said.
He described civil service as “engine room of governance”, noting that without a well functional civil service, government cannot provide efficient, effective and timely social services to the people.
He maintained that reformation of the state civil service remains his priority, vowing to continue to accord it all the attention needed for the sector to function well.
The governor noted some of the measures adopted by his administration to fast track the reformation process in the state civil service which include: reducing duplication of responsibilities and cost of governance by trimming the number of ministries from 27 to 21, creation of the State Bureau of Public Service Reforms, introduction of staff verification and audit to plug leakages in the payroll, Implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage for workers in the State service among others.
The governor lamented that he inherited civil service which was in a very bad condition and was performing poorly.
“We met a dysfunctional service that had a bloated structure, lacking in the ability to perform its constitutional responsibility of service delivery. The Civil Servants lacked direction, motivation and the will to perform. There was also palpable fear for the future as entitlements upon retirement such as gratuity were not forthcoming. A whopping sum of over 21 billion Naira has remained unpaid to both the State and Local Government retirees”.
He charged the appointees to rededicate themselves to duty and work harmoniously with commissioners and other principal officers of the government in order to perform their assignments diligently.
“As accounting officers, you must guard and prudently use public funds entrusted to you. I will accept nothing less than your loyalty and commitment to the job. The Head of the Civil Service will apprise me of your performance through periodic evaluation reports”.
On the retirees, the governor said, his administration is not unmindful of their yearnings and aspirations and that he will continue to do his best in addressing their problems.
“Let me use the opportunity to assure retirees and pensioners that this administration has your welfare in mind. Your patriotic service to the State is appreciated and shall not be in vain. As you can bear witness, this government has been faithful in the regular payment of pensions, most times even earning their pensions before salaries are paid.”
On the backlog of gratuity the governor said, “we also put in place a strategy for the liquidation of outstanding gratuities with funds allocated every month to clear the arrears. So far, the strategy is working but because of the very dire financial situation, it will take sometimes to achieve the desired objective. This was why I recently set up a high level committee to find ways to improve the financial circumstances of government and in particular, suggest ways to enable the government clear once and for all, the backlog of gratuities and to ensure that such a situation does not occur in the future”.
He said so far, his administration was able to settle 2014 and 2015 outstanding gratuities totalling 3.2 billion and efforts are underway to settle the 2016 outstanding gratuity before the end of the year 2022.
“In addition, we intend to pay the 2017 balances by the first quarter of 2023. As for the Local Governments, this administration inherited a backlog of gratuities dating as far back as 2012. In order to bring succour to these retirees a committee has been constituted to review the current financial status of each Local Government with a view to settling the backlog”, he affirmed.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Secretary to Gombe State Government, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi commended Governor Inuwa Yahaya for his continued efforts towards reforming the Gombe State Civil Service and placing it in a good stead to truly be the engine room of government.
Responding on behalf of the newly sworn-in Permanent Secretaries and the Special Advisers, Muhammad Kolo Bajoga thanked the governor for finding them worthy of the appointments, assuring of their unalloyed loyalty, dedication and service in accordance with their oaths of office and civil service regulations.
The newly sworn-in Permanent Secretaries are: Yambiyu Idris Buba –Balanga LG, Dr. Danladi Molta – Billiri LG, Danladi Adamu – Dukku LG, Moh’d Kolo Bajoga – Funakaye LG, Larai Maigari- Kaltungo LG.
Others are: Abubakar Daudu Gadam – Kwami LG, Suleiman Musa Kwami- Kwami LG, Ahmed Kasimu Abdullahi-Nafada LG, Moh’d Moh’d Galadima- Nafada LG
Modi D. Shelpidi – Shongom LG, Iranius M. Mamman – Y/Deba LG and Abubakar Hassan- Y/Deba LG.
The two Special Advisers sworn-in are: Muhammad shattima Gadam ( Rural and Community Development) and Arch. Habu Mohammed Shinga, (Social Investment).