by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
PLATEAU STATE – The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries in Plateau State have been told not to use the opportunities to engage in self-aggrandizement, self-enrichment and pursuance of parochial interests. Rather, these responsibilities demand that, they should take their commitments to the next level by exhibiting high sense of duty and patriotism.
The Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong disclosed this on Monday, while swearing-in the new Head of Civil Service and newly-appointed Permanent Secretaries at Government House Little Rayfield Jos. The governor noted that, “By this appointment, they are now the cream of the civil service and the custodians of its rich history and traditions.
“They are to set the examples for those under them to follow, and there is the need for them to uphold the Civil Service Rules that guide policy formulation, implementation, and strategies as well as the conduct of government employees.”
He stressed thus: “Having been in the system with this administration for the past 6 years, they must have been acquainted with the vision of the Rescue Administration and its 3-point policy framework, which has been driving the progress of the State.”
The governor stated that, the administration expects them to galvanise the entire workforce and ensure that they complete the implementation of their programs and projects.
“The civil service is the driver of all government policies,” he said, adding, “You must, therefore, be on your toes in translating policies to action. Government and the State must put in their best to see to the actualization of the 5-year strategic plan, which is currently being implemented.”
He also expect them to be “above board” in their conducts, in order to assert themselves and earn the confidence of those under them, and must play strategic roles as mentors and leaders and be able to punish indolence and reward excellence and loyalty.
While urging the new entrants to the Civil Service, the governor told them not to celebrate nor promote mediocrity, laziness and non-performance, and warned them against promoting ethnicity, religion or politicising the Civil Service, saying, “Such actions will not be tolerated, as the civil service is a professional calling, which must remain so.”
To further strengthen professionalism in the Civil Service, the governor has directed that, “Henceforth, appointments to the position of Permanent Secretary shall be based on professional aptitude tests and examinations that are ICT-based. This will also cascade down to other levels, as we move governance towards e-platforms that will improve efficiency, productivity and value.”
The governor urged all civil servants to take advantage of the opportunities provided by government for training in ICT, saying, “In addition, I expect that civil servants will engage in self-development by enrolling in trainings to equip themselves with the latest knowledge in technology for easy application.”
He urged them to also shun all acts of corruption and compromise that further stifle the system and deny people of the state the dividends of democracy, and ensure that they work in line with the efforts of the government to manage public resources with transparency and accountability.
He stressed that, government is doing everything possible to reduce the cost of governance and generate more revenue internally, and they must embrace prudence and adopt cost-cutting measures to save more funds that will be deployed in meeting the needs of the citizenry.
According to him, “With the commencement of the implementation of the new Revenue Law, we are confident that the income of the State will improve very soon to help us do more things for the people.
“Until we reach that threshold, I admonish the appointees to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices, because of the current economic realities that have been made worse by COVID-19,” he said.
He reassured Plateau State civil servants of the commitment of the state government to continue to prioritise their welfare and well-being. “Just like we have been consistent in the payment of salaries and other entitlements, including the new minimum wage, we shall ensure that our workers are trained and retrained for better efficiency,” he noted.
Governor Lalong further explained that, “Having established the Plateau State Health Insurance Scheme, we are making arrangements to commence the Contributory Pension Scheme, which will bring to an end the agony associated with payment of pension and gratuities of retirees.
“While we await the take-off of the scheme, the government is currently in talks with financial institutions to facilitate the clearance of accumulated pensions, gratuities and death benefits of retirees. All these are meant to alleviate the sufferings of the civil servants in service and retirement,” he noted.
He also challenged the new Head of Service and Permanent Secretaries to work hard and promote better industrial harmony between the Government and its employees, and directed that a Permanent Secretary be designated to handle labour matters in the office of the Head of Service, and noted that, “Government believes that this will provide the desired focus and attention to labour matters and engender industrial harmony.”
The governor called on the citizens, friends, relatives, school mates, professional colleagues and others to kindly pray and support these appointees, and asked them not to add to their pressures or push them towards doing things that are unethical and capable of tarnishing their careers.