Organised labour under the umbrella of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has deplored upsurge in irregular appointments in the federal public service.
In a statement made available to Newsfieldglobal, the immediate past President of the association, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, recalled that recruitment in the service had always been guided by the Public Service Rules (PSR) 020201-020412 with specific guidelines documented without being open ended.
He, however, lamented that despite such rules tgere were still cases of irregular appointments/recruitments into the Federal Public Service including indiscriminate transfer of persons from the state public services and private sector into the federal service without due regard for qualifications, years of experience and hierarchy.
According to him, it is so bad that some officers who are appointed to these positions without the requisite qualifications are placed over and above their seniors. This has adversely demoralised the officers that have been compelled to report to their juniors in school and it has impacted negatively on productivity.
He said: “We, therefore, demand that all appointments/recruitments into the Federal Public Service should be done in line with the scheme of service, Federal Civil Service Commission Guidelines on Appointment, Promotion and Discipline, Public Service Rules and Establishment Circulars. This will guarantee equity, fairness and justice as well as restore sanity in the system.”
On the indiscriminate engagement of permanent secretary outside the civil service, he said the phenomenon had assumed a new dimension as non-career civil servants are being drafted by federal and state governments to occupy the position of permanent secretaries in contravention of the Public Service Rules and other legal instruments including the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria all of which stipulate that permanent secretaries should be recruited from within the civil service.
“To worsen the issue, some of those appointed are even above the statutory retirement age of 60 years. It appears that at the federal level, our pressures are beginning to bear the desired fruits as the appointments made to the post of permanent secretaries in the last one year were all from within the civil service. The same can, however, not be said about the States where the issue is assuming a frightening dimension.
“This ill-advised act, to say the least has blocked career progression aspirations of directorate level officers who have served the nation meritoriously over the years from becoming permanent secretaries.
“We, therefore, implore the governments to henceforth, desist from recruiting non-career civil servants into the civil service as permanent secretaries. Appointment of permanent secretaries should strictly be in compliance with the public service rules and other legal instruments including the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which permits the civil service to make its own rules,” he added.
On tenure policy, he recalled that in 2009, the Federal Government introduced the policy for permanent secretaries and directors, and also approved a two term of four years for permanent secretaries and a single eight year tenure for firectors in the federal public service.
According to him, “the rationale behind the policy was to look for ways to address the age-profile imbalance in the civil service, which had created an unusual situation where deputy directors and assistant directors were retiring ahead of their directors and permanent secretaries some of whom were smuggled into the service at younger ages.
“This is because such distortion of recognised standard profiles of age versus grade levels not only makes a mockery of training, deployment and other resources management processes, but portends grave consequences for the future of the civil service.
“In addition, it was also to address the in-built inequality in the opportunity for the fulfilment of the career progression aspirations of directorate level officers, engendered by the perpetuation of officers on the grades of Director and Permanent Secretary.
“This tenure policy subsisted until 2016 when the present administration unilaterally opted to suspend it. It is instructive to note that the tenure policy for permanent secretaries and directors in the federal public service opened new vistas of opportunities for senior civil servants to be advancing regularly to the top hierarchy of the service and substantially reduce the incidences of frustration and stagnation as it were.
“We view the suspension of the tenure arrangement as policy somersault which is a retrogressive idea that will take the service many steps backward. It is in light of the consequences of this action that the Association has made several representations to the Federal Government to reverse the decision in the interest of the civil service.
“We wish to state that this singular act has negatively impacted on the productivity of civil servants who have lost the hope of reaching the peak of their careers. It is on this premise that we demand that the Federal Government should without further delay restore the tenure policy in order to boost the morale of civil servants for higher productivity.”