5 December 2012

Nigeria: Public Service Workers Fault FG's Performance Measurement System

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has criticised the Performance Measurement System initiated by the Federal Government as a basis for career progression in the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), stating that the policy option may open up a floodgate of victimisation at the implementation stage.

The National President, Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), Mr. Bala Kaigama, made this known at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union.

The federal government has decided to cancel Promotion Examination as a basis for career progression in the MDAs and replaced it with what has been characterised as Performance Measurement or Performance Contract system from 2013.

Reacting to the new policy, Kaigama cautioned government against formulating and implementing policies without taking input from strategic stakeholders such as representatives of employees in the public services that will be directly affected by the policy.

Kaigama appealed to government to ensure that the trade union side is brought into the Committee that will work out the modalities for the new promotion policy.

"Given the not particularly tidy manner in which public policies are implemented in this country especially in the Public Services, the apprehension in certain quarters that this policy option, unless enough safety valves are put in place, may open up a floodgate of complaints of victimisation at the implementation stage is not entirely misplaced.

" It is a good thing though that the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who announced the decision after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja emphasised that five federal ministries, namely finance, health, education, works, and agriculture, have been selected for the pilot scheme of the policy.

"Although the new policy was said to have been formulated by the Federal Civil Service Commission in conjunction with the 36 States Civil Service Commissions and presented to the Federal Executive Council, there is no indication whatsoever that the Trade Union Side in the Public Services at the Federal or State level was privy to the present reforms.

"It is our view that this entrenched practice of formulating and implementing policies without taking input from strategic stakeholders, in this instance representatives of employees in the Public Services that will be directly affected by the policy, is incongruous with democratic and Republican cultures and should be discontinued," he stated.

Speaking further, Kaigama urged MDAs both at the Federal and State levels to act proactively in order to promote industrial harmony in the public service sector.

He explained that the current practice where labour issues that are capable of disrupting industrial peace in the public services are not nipped in the bud until strike becomes imminent is certainly not the best.

He recalled that in 2009, the leadership of the union and the management of the federal ministry of education had agreed to institutionalise quarterly meetings where outstanding labour issues and nascent ones including the vexed issues of non-payment of promotion arrears and inappropriate placement of officers after promotion will be discussed and amicably resolved in line with contemporary trade union best practice, but regretted that three years after, no meeting has been called by the ministry despite persistent reminders by the association.

"Perhaps, the Management of the Federal Ministry of Education is waiting until the Association decides to embark on strike before the meeting could be convened. I therefore, wish to advise MDAs, particularly the Federal Ministry of Education to embrace social dialogue with Labour, a strategic partner in the workplace, as is the practice the world over," he added.

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