Public Service Human Resource Management in Nigeria

16/04/2014

“Public institutions in Nigeria have increased enormously over the years, but the quality of services they provide have declined. Duplication of statutory functions between public institutions with no added value contributes significantly to the expansion of public institutions. Government often attempts to cover all areas of development programmes to move with the increasing expectations of the people, but compounding issues is the fact that Nigeria’s public service is largely faced with continual capacity constraints. These constraints hinder the delivery of complementary services to the emerging private sector and achievement of national development agenda. In this article I shared my thoughts on the current capacity of public service in Nigeria and areas human resource management can increase performance of public service.

It is popular in Nigeria that public service is dysfunctional. This has been attributed to long years of reform deficit and neglect. As a former British colony, Nigeria inherited a public service from the colonial service. With the historical British foundation of independent, non-partisan and meritocratic administrative mechanisms that were evident in the root and branch of colonial administrative system, it would be improbable to allude Nigeria’s dysfunctional public service and the structure that feeds venal mandarins to the bequeathment of colonial service.

The military regimes were rather slack about keeping to meritocracy, excellence and high performance in the public service. It is a popular view that the failure of merit and excellence in Nigeria’s public service is attributable to Murtala-Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida regimes- for example, Murtala-Obasanjo compulsory retirement of public servants in the mid-1970s, and Ibrahim Babangida’s Civil Service Reform Decree No. 43 of 1988. Also, the Structural Adjustment Programme in the late 1980s was part of this story- it killed motivation, skills and spirits of public servants with its deteriorating effects on pay and fringe benefits relative to the cost of living. As Nigeria transited to democracy the capacity of public service remained an old wine in a new bottle.

However, public servants cannot be exonerated from the decay of public service. It is easier for public servants to reproach their political leaders for the failures than to take responsibilities. The inability of public servants to embrace the right attitude to work, or update themselves with the job skills, know-how and technology contributes to the messy state of affairs in the public service. Public servants have imbibed a stove-piping bureaucratic mentality that forestalls efforts of any high-flying mandarin. This mentality yields a short-run vision, egocentric policy formulation and weak programme implementation. Thus public institutions are better prepared to pursue individual interests than to align themselves with the nation’s development objectives and systems that sustain them.

Though steps had been taken in the past to reform the public service, those reforms had deformities, particularly in the human resource functions, with attendant consequences.

Human resources are lifeblood of public service. The capacity of public service is critical for the achievement and sustainability of Nigeria’s development agenda. High performance of public servants is imperative, but human resource management is sacrosanct. The question now is how can the public service perform high through human resource management?

Firstly, as human resource management is all encompassing, ranging from personnel administration to human resource strategy development and leadership, it should be streamlined into the structure of public sector institutions and aligned with the transformation agenda, particularly in decision-making processes. This will improve the public service as human resources are bequeathed with discretionary power of decision-making and as such possess a competitive advantage over the other resources like capital, technology, etc.

Secondly, as human resource management deals with the management of issues and concerns of the people within the public service, it should be taken as a key management function and tool for discovering and utilizing untapped human potentials in the public service; hence placing public servants at vantage positions as value creators and change agents.

Thirdly, as human resource management is concerned with the development of policies and systems for performing wide-ranging functions, ranging from providing benefits and compensation to other personnel services, it should be linked with the strategic management process of public service. This will give room to attract highly talented and motivated individuals, and retain high-fliers who would have exited due to frustration”.

Chukwuma Okonkwo

Abuja, Nigeria

 

 


Learner’s Submission: Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System

02/04/2014

“Results Based Monitoring and Evaluation (RBME) is an important and integral component of good project management. As such, the adoption of this system in an organization can have a profound impact on its users. RBME is a simple structured methodology for clearly laying out the results of a project/program and therefore can be beneficial to all stakeholders. This text will look at the potential users of RBME system within an organization and the interests and incentives that apply to each user as they pursue this system.

Directors/Board: the individuals that are higher up in the organization such as members of the Board or the Director himself benefit from the use of RBME because at this level they need to be able to clearly see and state that the organization is achieving what they say they will achieve as an organization to the general public. At this level reputation is important. With RBME these individuals are able to clearly measure the organization at every level of the program cycle of its projects. Therefore, the biggest incentive to use this system at this level is to ensure the efficacy and progress of its work and in turn ensure that staff is meeting targets as planned.

Staff/Implementers: At this level, for staff and implementers the interest in pursuing the M&E system is that they can directly see the impact that they are bringing about through their work. Appreciation and confirmation from higher levels is not always possible and sometimes on the frontline it is not easy to see the impact they are having in a community, but when they look at the results of their labour through a tool such as RBME they can see the accumulated impact of their work over a period of time which can be a huge motivation for some.

Program Managers of an organization: At this level of the organization program managers need to confirm that the staff and implementers are on task and that they can ensure the progress of the project against original plans. PMs can easily identify areas of improvement through the RBME system. PMs can use the system to motivate staff if needed or applaud them for their work. RBME is so organized and fairly thorough that PMs can appreciate its ease of use in implementation.

Fundraisers/Grant writers: As a grant writer, I thoroughly understand the importance of RBME because it is key in securing funding for the future. If your proposal for a grant is approved, you need to not only use the grant correctly, but you must also be able to report on the results you have achieved. If you are unable to provide an explanation of how you spent the grant and how you fulfilled your commitment/plan, the chances of you receiving funding again is very unlikely. By using RBME, you can show accountability, you can show the impact of donations as this is what donors want to see – that you received the donation and made a positive change with it.

Donors: The people that support an organization financially, such as donors will benefit from the use of the adoption of the M&E system. The general public donate to organizations where they know there money is being utilized with integrity. They donate when they understand the work of an organization. Without proper M&E and its results, donors do not know where their money has been used and chances of them donating again are slim. Therefore the interest of donors in an organization having a proper M&E is high and can increase the support that is received by an organization.

While the process of creating a RBME system can be challenging and time consuming, it is well worth the time and effort. It is a tool that can be very beneficial to the members of an organization and direct and indirect stakeholders such as government, businesses, NGOs and members of the general public. ” - Jennifer Fernandes - Toronto, Canada


Learner’s Submission: My Use of Online Public Services of Tamilnadu State, India

20/03/2014

“Tamilnadu is a progressive state of India. The e-governance is offered at the Sub National level in the state besides the National level e-governance.

I have experience the online public services at http://www.tn.gov.in recently and wish to explain about it.

The state website offers the downloadable formats for application for issue of birth certificates, income certificates, community certificates, land ownership certificate etc from government authorities. I have downloaded them and used them for applying at various circumstances recently. It has saved time for getting them in proper format from vendors and government offices.

The land registration department offers by online – an authenticated information about guideline values for registration of purchased land, the ownership details of survey number of villages and encumbrance on land ownership. This is useful to have this transparent information and save time for getting them. I have used them to guide my relatives while purchasing a residential land.

The Government Orders and Acts of Public Interest are posted in government website. I have down loaded them in various circumstances and used them to know the  information and procedures to be followed.

The Chief Ministers Grievance Redressal is online and I have posted the requests online and have followed the status online.

The Minister and the Officers Contact Details of state and district level is available in the website of the state government and is useful in getting them through internet for various communications. The maps up to block level are available in the sub national website in a downloadable form which is useful for thematic presentation in my job.

The schemes implemented by the department for socio economic development is available in the state website. I have understood the schemes through the website. The electoral role updating is available through online application. The Election authorities receive application online and verify it through regular verification and update the electoral role. Recently I got my National Identity Card (Aadhar) available with details online. My Iris and Finger prints were captured along with Photograph. Thus online public services offered are experienced by me at various instances giving a good feel about e-governance.” - Samuel Inbadurai - Tamilnadu, India


Learner’s Submission: datos.gov.co – An Example of a Combination Process of Knowledge

18/03/2014

“In the field of knowledge management, the process of converting explicit knowledge into explicit knowledge is known as combination. In this process of knowledge generation is from information systems, electronic data processing and integration. As I have always stated in my view, the Government Online program in Colombia, is nothing more than the implementation of a knowledge management system for the state, and this being consistent with and aligned with academic theory, the Open Data portal of the Colombian state is a combination tool where the existing explicit knowledge within organizations and often stored in databases to a repository brings providing some additional metadata and which new knowledge is explicit and is available to of society.

The public sector entities, have a lot of knowledge, both explicit and implicit, within their organizations, within their documents, information systems, spreadsheets, the minds of your servants, etc.., And some mode has been consolidated in the group of explicit knowledge. A conscious or unconscious, Quality Systems for Public Management that have been implemented over the last decade have as part of its objectives the documentation of processes and procedures of the entity, which has led to bulk process outsourcing within the state, much knowledge was only in the minds of public officials (tacit) is carried documents, systems, electronic media (explicit).

Much of the information derived from the process of externalization begins to articulate data and information that is already structured in some systems entities and begins to generate new knowledge, the latter begin to release data sets that are exploitable by society and the government to notice this utility starts to make it available to social actors in the country, citizenship, for them, give added value and benefit from this information that the end of the day is public character and are the property of citizens who have paid their taxes.

Within the portal Datos.gov.co now a number of useful information from different sources in free and machine-processable formats, which have helped to develop applications, conduct research, support studies, among others, supporting a process of knowledge transfer is from the State to citizenship. But this knowledge is not unidirectional, citizenship also has tools through this website to comment and suggest, which leads to identifying data needs of the citizenry, these needs are recorded within a system and thus again provides a process outsourcing passing the tacit knowledge of citizenship to explicitly registered within the State system.

At the time of writing this post the catalog has 499 published data sets, although already a considerable number is still more use by the public, but this also happens because of the lack of commitment of many entities to open their data, or verify its usefulness.

In Colombia advance to the management of public institutions through an instrument called FURAG for its acronym in Spanish (Single Registration Form for Advance Management) measurement performed there the different public entities are consolidated in a single instrument is measured within the themes that are measured is the online government and there is recorded that components eGovernment strategy has been implemented. The issue of open data is a component element of Democracy Online which in turn belongs to the Government Online Strategy.

Therefore, some organizations publish open only to demonstrate progress in the management and this requirement is done in Colombia as a control data, but lacking in some, a commitment to the philosophy of open government, review the usefulness of this, beyond meet to meet, open data only for passing the test on the entities.

Although there is still much to do, still need to build commitment both citizens and institutions and industry can be said to be on the right track and that the hard work of the professionals we engage in creating awareness and hold hands entities for cover under the same blanket of open government.” - Carlos Andrés Morales Machuca - Bogota, Colombia


Learner’s Submission: Open Government Data – Nigeria’s Experience

18/03/2014

” The philosophy of open data has been in existence since the 20th century. What is new is the interpretation given to the term open data. The increasing interdependence among economies, organizations, and human beings in general, has necessitated an upward linear trend in the need for and use of data. The increasing need for and use of data have demanded for more data access and openness. These have made open data a popular concept today. The proliferation of internet and social media has also helped in popularizing the concept. Open government data is about government making data (unclassified) accessible to the citizens for use, reuse and distribution for free without any restrictions.

Open data has gained much attention in Nigeria in recent times. The importance of open data has become increasingly obvious in every aspect of life. Individuals have realized that with open data they can make informed decisions and engage strongly with the government. Private organizations have seen the significance of open data in helping them to save time and make smarter decisions. Civil society organizations know that with open data they can measure government’s performance and dialogue constructively with the government. Government has realized that the more accessible and open data becomes the more likely citizens are to understand and accept the government and share its values.

The first indigenous open data portal in Nigeria was launched (at the state level) by Edo state government in September 2013. The portal gives access to reliable and timely data on Edo state government, international organizations and non-state actors, and provides user-friendly ways to find and reuse the datasets. The portal has become a unique platform for various users, including policy makers, researchers, analysts, business leaders, and investors to obtain data about the state government and its partnering organizations. Though the portal laudably provides public users with hands-on access to about 90 datasets (which include but not limited to budget data, geo-data, census data, fiscal data, and project implementation data) the portal is deficient in data for main macroeconomic and socioeconomic indicators, and data analysis technology within the portal, which suggests that users are unable to perform multi-dimensional queries on various datasets or perform comprehensive analysis; hence limiting full citizen engagement. As a new initiative that is already threading on a commendable path, there is no doubt that the data portal will improve over time.

Prior to the launch of open data portal in Edo state, the African Development Bank (AFDB) had launched in March 2013 an open data portal for 20 African countries, including Nigeria, as part of its efforts in improving data management and dissemination in the continent. In the open data platform, Nigeria has its designated portal with user-friendly tool that enables users to extract data, create and share views as well as work with others, and visualize data across themes, sectors and countries. The portal provides access to a wide range of data, including but not limited to macroeconomic data, socio-economic data, and development data on Nigeria and other African countries from several international and national official sources. Users are enabled to visualize time series data over a period of time, perform comprehensive analysis, and make use of the ready-made presentation graphics. All these help to build an informed population of users and enhance citizen engagement.

With these nascent developments in open data in Nigeria, the Federal government has chimed in with the launch of Open Data Development Initiatives to give citizens enabling access to government in order to drive innovation, investment and economic growth. Though it is not clear the kind of data this initiative will make available, but the intensity of the goal suggests a comprehensive and advice-giving process that will make available without restrictions high value datasets from across government ministries, departments and agencies to all Nigerians, businesses and the rest of the world for free.

It is laudable that Nigeria has joined over 50 countries that have launched federal-level open data initiatives, and highly impressive that Nigeria has open data initiative at state-level. These signal the readiness of Nigeria to tap into the rich benefits of open data, particularly in the Global Positioning System (GPS) data, which a study by McKinsey indicated worth US$90 billion. The potential efficiency, innovations and economic value embedded in open data are overwhelming and transformative. It is my submission that government shouldn’t rest on its laurels but intensify efforts to bring other state governments aboard.” - Chukwuma Okonkwo - Abuja, Nigeria


Learner’s Submission: Role of Common Service Centres (CSC) in Puducherry Union Territory

18/03/2014

“Under the National E-governance Plan consist of 31 mission mode projects (MMP) classified as below.

  • Central mission mode projects (11)
  • State mission mode projects(13)
  • Integrated mission mode projects(7)

Common service centres is an integrated Mission Mode Project which aims at providing high quality services under Government to citizen(G2C), Government to business (G2B), Government to Government( G2G) in a cost effective manner. Approval of common services centre was given in may 2006.

With the help of the SWAN (state wide area network), SDC (state data centre) the CSC are delivering the services.

SWAN aims at providing a minimum bandwidth of 2Mbps transferring data voice and video communications throughout the network. SWAN POP(point of presence) helps in vertical and horizontal connectivity.

The Puducherry Government, through the Department of Information Technology created   a road map with the implementation of the Common Services Centre’s scheme for the Union Territory with the consultation support of the appointed National Level Service Agency (NLSA) by the Department of Information Technology, Government of India to roll out 66 CSC’s.

This scheme was planned to be implemented by PPP framework (Public-Private Partnership) with village level entrepreneur (VLE) will be the CSC operators, Service Centre Agency (SCA) is Tera Software Limited. The Puducherry E-Governance society is the State Designated Agency (SDA).

Puducherry union territory comprises of four regions.

  • Puducherry
  • Karaikal
  • Mahe
  • Yanam

At present 56 CSC have been rolled out comprising all the four regions.

Services provided by the CSC for the citizen

  • Issue of birth certificate
  • Issue of death certificate
  • Issue of patta copy

At a nominal cost.

The certificates issued by these centres can be verified by the verification code provide at the end of the certificate issued. The verification can be done online at the hyperlink given below http://puduvaisevai.py.gov.in/revenue/ECOnlineVerification.aspx .

The common service centres are classified as rural and urban centres. More rural centres are envisaged when compared to that of urban centres. The list of address of the various CSC their location is given in the state portal website https:// www.py.gov.in. Which was developed and designed by the national informatics centre, Puducherry.” - Prabhu Djeapragassam – Puducherry, India

REFERENCE:

1) http://deity.gov.in/content/common-services-centers

2)http://dit.puducherry.gov.in/pages/DIT_CSCs.html

3) http://dit.puducherry.gov.in/pages/DIT_ProjectStatus.html


Learner’s Submission: Social Media Channels in Zimbabwe

10/03/2014

“Different government departments, ministries and parastatals, government officials and local authorities or councils are utilizing different social media channels to spearhead development and deliver efficient, effective service delivery that is tailor made to answer to the local citizens’ specific needs. Facebook, twitter, Myspace, Whatsapp and other blogs have been accepted by digital citizens as triggers for citizen empowered change. Accenture Media Consultant argues that not only are people getting news from social media channels but also that social media channels is change.  Recent political and socio-economic changes are a clear illustration that social media has ignited and channeled widespread movements and social groupings which has resulted in new political democratic dispensations and socio-economic transformation. Social media channels have managed to influence how people interconnect, network, share ideas and opinions and have even gone far to organize resolute action for the benefit of the citizens.

Social media channels have gone a long way to change the lives of millions and upset how public administration issues are dealt with and has brought together both the government and its citizens to engage effectively in improving service delivery.  Local concerted action and issues are deliberated and brought into the broader sphere where even the international community can also be engaged through their comments, opinions, posts and twits in a bid to enhance quality service delivery which will impact on many lives leading to sustainable development. In this digital era, brought in as a result of technological advancements, citizens are able to discuss and network with their government officials and politicians of different arms without fear, victimization and prejudice.

 This engagement and dialogue between the citizens and government has changed the relationship between the government and its people. Thus government is now accountable to its citizens and the digital era of social media channels has made the voiceless to have a platform where their faint voices could make an impact in influencing development and service delivery. This has led to citizens influencing their leaders to bring development at their doorsteps. Here it is argued that people are empowered to share their views, interact and be mobilized to lobby for their own betterment. In the survey carried by Accenture Digital Citizen Pulse Survey, they found out that more than 51% believed that the ability to interact digitally with government has encouraged them to be engaged in government projects.  This engagement between the government and its citizens has built a strong bond based on mutual trust, respect and cooperation which has led to sustainable service delivery and excellent national governance.

Parallel e-governments has emerged as a result of blogs and social media channels which have been noted as powerful apparatuses to drive development. Thus citizens are able to emphasize prospects of the government and create a ground swelling support so powerful that the need for a response is vibrant and clear. In Zimbabwe many government officials, politicians and institutions have embraced the social media platform as an effective channel to disburse information. By creating user accounts in Facebook, twitter, Myspace and other blogs, they have come closer to their electorate and reduce the distance and bureaucratic structures which impedes communication with their electorates. Excellent public relations is created. When people are engaged with their leaders, they are able to decide on issues that affects them. Social media channels has been that private-public social sphere which cuts across all barriers and beliefs prompting millions to come together, interact and reinvent the daily work of administration and public service management.

Social media channels has been central in unravelling and bringing those social issues and many other issues that are committed behind closed doors and underhand dealings by public service administrators and senior government officials and politicians to the forefront and be scrutinized by local citizens and even the international scene. Although they are effective in information dissemination and breaking news headlines, they have left the government with a bigger problem of managing effectively this public engagement. They have been viewed as the right channels by citizens for the government to interact and conduct its business with its local populace.

Moreso, social media channels have been effective in enhancing effective and sound local democracy. Social media channels have decentralized decision making powers and brought the rendezvous and rally venues at each citizen’s cellphone handset, iPhone, iPad and computer without even attending a rally or demonstration. With the acceptance of social media channels by citizens as effective forces for social, economic and political change, gone are the days of waiting for an evening newspaper or night news to hear about government developmental issues or late night shows to partake in an developmental discussion with a local politician or administrator. Social media channels have broke new grounds in which citizens have accepted to pen a change through technology and never through the barrel of the gun like the good old days.

In conclusion, social media channels have tackled issues concerning corruption, nepotism, mismanagement of public funds and abuse of office by holders in a bid to enhance quality service delivery and improvement in public service administration.  As a result of these media channels, the government has begun to open up and adapt to this changing trend of accepting social media channels as effect tools to rally support from its citizens. Social media channels have led to change and reforms in citizen participation and national development. As a result it has been an enabler of accountability and opened up the getaways to excellent national governance.” - Vincent Siwawa - Chiredzi, Zimbabwe


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96 other followers

%d bloggers like this: