Why Civil Service Reforms Fail


The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi Esan has stressed the need to put a strict system in place to attract and bring the best personnel into the Civil service.

Dr. Yemi Esan said this while delivering a virtual lecture on Public Service Reform Programme Implementation in Nigeria to participants of Senior Executive Course No.43 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru Jos today 15th April 2021.

According to her, the practice in the past whereby the Civil Service was seen as a welfare Institution to recruit all manner of people to mitigate unemployment crisis is unwholesome.

She stated that the objective of public service reform is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the service to promote economic and social development.

While saying that Nigeria has, since its independence in 1960, been carrying out various reform to achieve national development, she opined that any reform worth implementing should first be subjected to purpose wide-consultation, commitment and sustainability.

Despite various reform programmes initiated in the past, she added that reform implementation has always been the bane. She reeled out factors responsible for failure of past reforms to include: Poor funding and inadequate provision in MDAs to fund implementation of reforms; Lack of skilled manpower; Poor Communication at planning and implementation stages; Poor or total lack of ownership of reforms by state and poor subnational coordination of reforms; Poor involvement of citizens; Lack of synergy between public and private sector organisations; Lack of synergy amongst implementing MDAs; Policy somersault; Rivalry and conflict of interest amongst institutions.

Others, she added include, lack of political will to implementation of the reforms, resistance to change, poor ICT infrastructure and political interference among others.

Dr. Yemi-Esan said the new reform programme in the service, the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP)2017-2020 was derived from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it addressed economic, social and environmental sustainability issue.

The FCSSIP (2017-2020), she explained, has been a ‘game changer’ in public service administration because of the successes recorded so far. The impact has been so tremendous that efforts are ongoing to prepare a successor plan (2021-2025).

The successor plan, she added, would be aligned with the Medium-Term Development Plan (MTNDP) and Agenda 2050 of the present administration.

The six priority areas proposed for retention in the FCSSIP successor plan include:

Capacity building

Accelerate Roll-Out of HR Module of the IPPIS for improved accessibility, reduced administrative cost an increased ability to take data driven decisions and improved accessibility.

Innovation accelerates implementation of key innovation and establish clear innovation pipelines and establish clear innovation priorities in all service innovation departments of MDAs.

Performance Management System to be institutionalised service-wide to drive productivity.

Automation of work process geared towards digitization and content service solution.

Welfare towards enhancing renumeration and welfare package to Civil Servants, improve work environment, retirement benefits and providing working resources to enhance value proposition.


AbdulGaniyu Aminu
Director (Press and Public Relations)