Sack fever grips perm secs

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images (14)…as Buhari halts test for new ones

Sack panic has gripped permanent secretaries following plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to trim ministries, departments and agencies(MDAs) to manageable size.

There were indications that some permanent secretaries, especially weak and corrupt ones,  might be retired.

Based on the pending change, the presidency yesterday halted plans to conduct a test for about 20 directors seeking to fill vacancies for the Director-General of the Budget Office and permanent secretary slots for Abia, Borno, Jigawa and Kwara states.

It was also gathered that the alleged abuse of the selection process also accounted for the postponement of the test.

A highly-placed source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The fear of a likely reduction of permanent secretaries by 50 per cent has gripped the civil service. Already, we have 42 permanent secretaries and if the MDAs are merged, some permanent secretaries may have to proceed on retirement.

“The government may be forced to look at the records of the permanent secretaries. The weak and corrupt ones who fiddled with SURE-P funds, mismanaged resources and presided over phony contracts might be dropped.

“Although the permanent secretaries are managing the government machinery with President Buhari, it will soon be their turn to be sacked or retired.”

It was gathered that the pending change accounted for the abrupt stoppage of the examination for about 30 directors seeking to fill vacancies for the Director-General of the Budget Office and permanent secretary slots for Abia, Borno, Jigawa and Kwara states.

A top source in the civil service said: “All the short-listed directors were yesterday abruptly told that the examination has been postponed indefinitely based on the directive of the presidency.

“They said the shift was as a result of plans by the presidency to review the size of the permanent secretary cadre in the Federal Civil Service.

“The presidency felt there might be no need yet to appoint new permanent secretaries when it has not decided the fate of those in charge now.”

A circular by the Permanent Secretary (CMO), Amb. Danjuma N. Sheni, which was exclusively obtained by our correspondent, had invited the directors for the examination.

The circular said: “I write to inform you that the timetable for the selection of candidates to fill vacancies for the appointment of Permanent Secretaries for Abia, Borno, Jigawa, and Kwara as well as the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation has been scheduled to hold from Monday, August 17 to Saturday 22, 2015 as indicated below:

“ICT Refresher Course Self-Assessment Questionnaire Administration (August 17, 2015; Written Examination for selection of Permanent Secretaries(August 18, 2015); and Written Examination for selection of Director-General Budget Office of the Federation (August 19, 2015).

“Permanent Secretaries are hereby requested to ensure that all candidates attend the activities as scheduled, please.”

The Ahmed Joda Transition Committee had recommended drastic reforms in the civil service.

The panel said: “There is no direct relationship between the number of ministries and efficacy of service delivery. The US with a population of 316million and with GDP of $17, 328 trillion (30 times Nigeria’s GDP) has 15 ministries. India has 24 ministries, while the UK has 17.

“The current structure of the Federal Government of Nigeria with 28 ministries and 542 agencies (50 of which have no enabling laws) results in very high cost of governance. The portfolios of ministries are not responsive to all the major critical national challenges such as family and child affairs; religious affairs; vulnerable and elderly group affairs as well as the North-Eastern crisis.

“There is an apparent conflict between the desire of reducing the cost of governance through cabinet downsize and the constitutional requirement of a cabinet-level ministerial appointment from each of the 36 states of the federation.”

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Hamilton Nwosa is an experienced, and committed communication, business, administrative, data and research specialist . His deep knowledge of the intersection between communication, business, data, and journalism are quite profound. His passion for professional excellence remains the guiding principle of his work, and in the course of his career spanning sectors such as administration, tourism, business management, communication and journalism, Hamilton has won key awards. He is a delightful writer, researcher and data analyst. He loves team-work, problem-solving, organizational management, communication strategy, and enjoys travelling. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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