Do you want to know how public service in Nigeria can be better? If so, this is a must-read for you. This article highlights different effective ways of improving public service in Nigeria.
Public service is any service that should address the specific needs of people in a country. But if these needs are not met or poorly delivered, then it means that the public service system is no longer functional and needs reform.
The Nigerian public service is almost a joke because of the current inefficiency and corruption. As much as we would like to blame the government or the public service workers for the dysfunctional state of the system, honestly, everyone is responsible, and we all have a part to play in its reform.
Simply put, it would take commitment from workers and citizens and political will on the part of the government to reform Nigeria’s public service system to how it ought to be.
Here are practical ways to restructure the public service in Nigeria.
Ways of Improving Public Service in Nigeria
1. Defining Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies
Office duplication is one of those things that has contributed to Nigeria’s public service inefficiency. In the Nigerian public service, you find ministries, departments, and agencies that perform similar services to the public. As a result, there is duplication of effort, and the work is rarely completed.
Duplication of effort is when one department provides a service unnecessarily because a similar department has already been done before. This is because roles and responsibilities overlap.
One would have thought that with many hands to fulfill a particular role; things would progress faster. But contrary to that, it confuses. Clearly defining the government’s ministries, departments, and agencies would help curb duplication of effort, improve the quality of work, ensure efficiency, and instill a sense of responsibility.
Defining roles and functions in government parastatals is one of Nigeria’s most effective ways of improving public service.
2. Improving Citizen Participation in Government
Citizen participation in government is a great way to ensure accountability in the public service sector. When individuals actively monitor the service delivered, express their grievances and dissatisfaction, and provide feedback, the Nigerian public service will be forced to do the proper job expected of them.
Citizens’ participation in government is essential if we must reform the public service in Nigeria. Engaging in participatory governance will ensure that citizens enjoy high-quality public service.
3. The Reform of The Code Of Conduct Bureau And The Public Service Commission
Restructuring the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the entire public service commission are other ways of improving Nigeria’s public service.
The CCB was initially set up as a watchdog in the Nigerian public sector. However, these days, its function is more like a tool in government officials’ and politicians’ hands for settling political scores.
The bureau needs to be reformed to become the anti-corruption agency it once was, combing corruption in the Nigerian public sector. To make this happen, the government should make these agencies wholly independent and free of political interference, allowing the Code of Conduct provisions to be enforced and check for corruption.
Once the Code of Conduct Bureau is what it should be, the excesses of public officials will not go unchecked. Hence, they cannot curry favors from government officials.
4. Salary Increase
Higher salaries are one of the best incentives for workers everywhere, which is the same in the Nigerian public sector. It goes a long way towards keeping public workers motivated to do their jobs.
However, because of the low salary and remuneration package of public service workers in Nigeria, they are least motivated to work and resort to corrupt means to earn more. The government needs to review the salaries of public employees in line with the cost of living if the citizens of the nation are assured of better services.
5. The Use of Technology in the Public Service
Using technology in public service will ensure efficiency in the public service sector in Nigeria. The government needs to invest in technological tools and adopt technical approaches that will help bring about better service delivery to the public.
If citizens are to enjoy better services, we cannot afford to keep doing things the way they have been done.
6. Development of Human Capital and Training
Public employees also need constant training to excel in their roles as in every other job. The government must prioritize training and personnel development so public workers can advance their skills.
Public workers can be groomed to contribute to national development with human capital development.
7. The Appointment of Qualified Public Servants
In Nigeria, there are unqualified personnel given principal roles. Selection is based on political bias and nepotism rather than competence, expertise, and experience.
To solve the issues constantly plaguing the public service sector in Nigeria, the government must ensure that only competent public servants who are experts in their field can occupy public positions.
Appointments should be based on qualifications and merit rather than political affiliations or favoritism.
Privatization can also be an effective method to improve public service in Nigeria. It is a solution the government can explore for a public entity that is not performing as expected.
Privatization is the transfer of ownership, management, and controlling rights from government or public-sector authorities to private enterprises, partly or entirely when control and ownership of a public enterprise are transferred to the private sector, whether wholly or partially, it increases efficiency and innovation it can also allow the government to focus on deprived social sectors.
The government can decide to privatize whichever entity it wishes, from the education sector to banking institutions, as long as the primary goal remains to benefit society, which is the initial purpose for establishing public enterprises.