Thursday, 12 November 2015

Fears Grip Directors Over Perm Secs Sacking

There are indications that the Federal Government has begun the restructuring of departments and directorates in the federal civil service.

It was learnt on Wednesday that following the compulsory retirements of 17 permanent sectaries on Tuesday, fears had gripped directors in the federal civil service.

Many of them, findings showed, feared that the re-organisation of departments and agencies might lead to their ouster from the civil service.

The Chat212 reliably gathered that the ongoing restructuring of departments was in line with the merging of some ministries by President Muhammadu Buhari.

On Tuesday, Buhari reduced the number of federal ministries from 29 to 25. He scrapped the ministries of police, aviation, and special duties. Ministries of lands, housing, urban development and works have been merged to become the Ministry of Works and Housing.

The ministries of information, culture, national orientation and tourism have been merged to become the Ministry of Information and Culture.

It was gathered that the restructuring would affect Grade Levels 15 to 17 officers, who were mostly assistant directors, deputy directors and directors.

A director, who confided in one of our correspondents, was handling the re-organisation of the departments and directorates.

He said in ministries that were merged, some directors might become redundant, and a few of them might be retired.

He, however, said that such compulsory retirement might affect those who have few years to spend in the civil service.

He also said that likely to be affected were those who had cases of graft.

A senior officer in the office of the Head of Service, who pleaded anonymity because he had not been authorised to speak on the issue, explained the reasons for the restructuring.

He said, “What I can tell you for sure is that this is a restructuring exercise by the present administration aimed at revitalising and re-engineering the civil service for effective service delivery. So, if the Federal Government feels that merging of a particular ministry with another is going to bring smooth governance, so be it. You cannot challenge the government for a particular action that is going to bring service delivery for Nigeria. So, the merger certainly is going to bring service delivery better for the development of the nation.”

On the departments that would be merged, he said, “For now, no clear statement has been made on it. But from what we have seen, some ministries have been merged. The government is taking these steps to make governance easier and straightforward.”

But in his reaction, the Secretary-General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Mr. Alade Lawal, said the union would resist the compulsory retirement of directors.

He advised the government against the retirement of civil servants because of the reduction in the number of ministries.

Lawal said, “The other area where we want to advise the government to thread with caution is the rumour making the rounds that some directors will be removed from service. On this one, we will resist the move and also challenge it with all trade union actions at our disposal. The post of a director is a career position and not political.

“The retirement position is governed by the Public Service Rules which stipulates 60 years of age or 35 years of service, whichever comes first. Any attempt to remove them prematurely before the terminal end of their career is unlawful and we will not accept it. This is not saying that anyone that is found wanting cannot be disciplined. In doing that, however, due process must be followed.”

He, however, said that the government had the right to remove   permanent secretaries because they were political appointees.