FG urges Civil Servants to embrace economy diversification

Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack(seated M) and other participants at the event.

Civil Servants have been charged to embrace economy diversification of this present administration by engaging in various agricultural value chain businesses while still in active service, and to provide an alternative stream of income on exiting from service.

The Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack, Mni, gave the charge during the 4th Permanent Secretary’s Quarterly Breakfast Meeting with Labour leaders in Public Service on Thursday, 13th September, 2018, in Abuja.

Mrs. Walson-Jack said the purpose of the meeting was to provide a veritable platform for consultation with unions with a view towards building cooperation and understanding that would enhance industrial harmony in the Public service. In addition, she said, the meeting was to enable the Service Welfare Office to receive the feelers of the union members on a number of initiatives targeted at enhancing the welfare and well-being of workers.
Reiterating Government’s commitment to the welfare of the workers, she said that the enhancement of welfare package of workers as outlined in the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan, 2017–2020, shows that Government is concerned, ready and willing to give workers a better life.

She added that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has graciously approved the Federal Civil Service Exit Management Programme which includes pre-retirement & post retirement trainings, of which the pilot phase of Pre-retirement training has kick started.
She noted that the pre-retirement training is actually to prepare Civil Servants for retirement. “We want them to have a smooth transition and so the training is focusing on the component of various businesses that a retired civil servant can carry on after service,’’ she said.

‘’ We also know that this administration is seeking to diversify the economy through agriculture and because the 1999 constitution as amended allows Civil Servants to engage in the business of farming while still in service, we are taking advantage of this to ensure that the training has a large component of various agricultural businesses and its value chain’’.
However, the Permanent Secretary noted that not every civil servant will want to go into farming, so “We are looking at other areas like consultancy, marketing, governance, leadership and so many other things they will like to do after service,” She said.
Speaking on Government’s effort towards ameliorating the pain of workers in accessing their retirement benefits, she disclosed that a Standing Committee comprising representatives from the OHCSF, PENCOM& PTAD has been set up.

‘’we are aware of the Pension and Gratuity challenges retired Federal Civil Servants face. It is a very sensitive issue that is dear to our heart, so we meet regularly to iron out issues regarding pension and gratuity. We are making progress and looking forward to a time where the pains of pension and gratuity will be a thing of the past.”

She stressed the need for both Government and Trade Unions to continue to collaborate and embrace the principle of collective bargaining and mutual respect to achieve a common purpose of enhancing the welfare of workers and delivering services to the people; adding that Government would continue to do everything possible to improve the welfare and conditions of service of workers as well as strengthening their human capacity to enhance their service delivery.
She also urged Civil Servants to be well informed of Government policies and programmes in order to avoid exaggerated expectations.
Speaking in the same vein, the representative of the Director General of the Nigeria Television Authority, Mr. Steve Egbo, said it is a very productive interaction that douse out fear and rekindles hope for intending retirees.

The Permanent Secretary’s Quarterly Breakfast Meeting is geared towards sustaining industrial harmony in the public sector with a view to achieving Federal Government’s Change Agenda for National Development.

Akinwumi, Taiwo Olufunke
For: Director Press& Media Relations.
Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
14th September, 2019.