It is a great pleasure to welcome you all, particularly the twelve (12) Permanent Secretaries Designate who were successful in the recently concluded selection exercise, to this induction workshop which is another very crucial part of the process towards your successful assumption of office.

2. Traditionally, this induction programme comes after swearing-in. However, due to factors, chief among which is the current situation brought about by COVID-19, it is being held before. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, the coming of the induction at this time would enable you hit the ground running when you finally assume office.

3. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you have had firsthand knowledge of the rigours and transparency of the process which was instrumental to your emergence above other candidates from your respective states that participated in the selection exercise of Permanent Secretaries. Thus, the experience you had, is an insight to the kind of culture we are trying to build and sustain in the service which is being driven by hard work, discipline and excellence. I therefore once again congratulate you for your outstanding performance with the confidence that you will continue to demonstrate such level of excellence in your new duties.

4. Nevertheless, I believe you appreciate that the journey is just beginning. It is expected that your wealth of knowledge and those you will acquire at this workshop will be creatively adapted to your daily duties irrespective of the peculiarities of the functions of the offices you will be deployed to throughout your tenures. It therefore behooves us to avail ourselves of opportunities the induction programme will provide to deepen and expand our knowledge so as to improve our competencies.

5. As custodians of public trust, there is the need to foster mutual trust and confidence amongst ourselves and other critical stakeholders of the public service, who you need to collaborate and partner with towards addressing the daunting 3 challenges of national development. Need I also stress that the aforementioned expectations of permanent secretaries are further compounded amidst dwindling financial resources and escalating competing demands. Thus, this calls for more prudence and creativity in administering public funds and resources.

6. As I mentioned during my maiden meeting with you, the need to uphold integrity in Service is not an option. Undoubtedly, the work is daunting with relentless pressure from our diverse quarters but we must all lead by example by upholding the provisions of the extant rules at all times. We must be on the side of truth and be the example we want subordinate officers to emulate.

7. Distinguished inductees, by the grace of Almighty God, during my tenure as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and with your cooperation as well as that of your colleagues to bethe serving Permanent Secretaries, I want us to elevate the Nigerian Public Service to world class standard with special emphasis on digital service delivery, innovation, knowledge, value addition, revenue generation, wealth creation and electronic operations driven by Information and Communications Technology (ICT) processes. 

8. As you may have noticed, we have achieved reasonable successes in some of the priority areas of the 2017 – 2020 plan and we are forging ahead, particularly going forward to the 2021-2024 plan. I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the support of His Excellency, President Muhammed Buhari, to the Public Service by giving the necessary backing for the success of all our initiatives, programmes and activities.

9. The Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is working on a number of reforms to promote Transparency and Accountability by leveraging on Digitization and Automation and I will just touch on a few areas. The Office is working with stakeholders to develop policy and guidelines on remote working. This is with the aim of turning the challenges posed by COVID-19 to opportunities.

10. As you will notice, many MDAs have adopted virtual platforms to hold these meetings, therefore, the need arose to streamline this new trend. This draft policy/guidelines have been worked on and are awaiting concurrence of all stakeholders before it is made public. You will recall that the virtual platform was very instrumental in enabling the full participation of candidates in seven of our foreign 5 missions in the permanent secretaries’ selection exercise, against the doubts of skeptics. Hence, the policy/guidelines will help regulate the application of virtual platforms for official purposes.

11. Furthermore, plans are underway for the digitization of some processes in the service. This is being driven through robust partnerships particularly with the private sector. To this effect, a circular Reference HCSF/3057/VOL.1/77 on Digitization of Files and Other Records in MDAs was issued which is the first step in the process. This initiative among others to follow is one of the strategies for the establishment of an Enterprise Content Management System (ECM) which incorporates digitization/automation of documents. Some of the expected outcomes of this initiative include, Reducing Delay in Treating Files and Documents; Easy Tracking of Files and Documents; Preventing Loss of Files and Improving Access Control among others. It is expected that when fully on stream, this system of file/document management will support efforts by Government to promote transparency and accountability.

12. The Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) is partnering with the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) for the transformation of the Service, especially in the area of digitization 6 and I wish to state that a lot of work has been done in that direction. In addition, we are doing a lot to promote transparency and accountability through the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS). IPPIS, being a Service-Wide System is intended to capture the records of all employees of the Federal Government of Nigeria, regardless of their geographical locations. The Office of the Head of Service has embarked on the accelerated Roll out of Human Resource (HR) Module of the IPPIS and Six (6) MDAs are now live on the IPPIS HR Platform.

13. We are currently reviewing the records of additional 10 MDAs with a view of going Live sometime in August, while the final batch of 19 MDAs will Go live as soon as possible. In view of the above benefits, we will sustain sensitization on the online records update and other HR implementation activities in MDAs with a view to creating more awareness among Federal Government employees.

14. It is also pleasing to note that efforts to implement a new Performance Management System (PMS) is also progressing smoothly. The partnership between the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and its major stakeholders – Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) and Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (MFB&NP) as well as International Development Partners, has produced some gains. These include: 7 i. Successful pilot of the PMS in three (3) Government institutions – Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation; ii. Successful conduct of Lesson Learning Workshop to gain from the experience of MDAs such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Communication Satellite (NigComSat) which are already running PMS. This led to the production of the draft PMS Policy, Tools and Guidelines; and lastly iii. Review of the draft PMS Policy, Tools and Guidelines is 90% completed.

15. In the area of Capacity Building, we have attained modest progress in view of the conclusion of numerous pre-training activities. So far we have launched the reviewed modules on Induction, Structured Mandatory Assessment Based Training Program (SMAT-P) as well as the Leadership Enhancement and Development Program (LEAD-P). Under the SMAT-P 1,287 Officers have been trained. The target is to achieve 100% participation of civil servants in SMAT-P. Under the Induction Training, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation successfully conducted Pilot training with 8 new Induction module for selected 700 officers on SGL 7- 10 and carried out an Evaluation of Pilot Induction training in February 2020.

16. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we have observed weaknesses in the PRS Departments of all MDAs. We are therefore working with the Federal Civil Service Commission to strengthen the department.

17. While we are determined to bring about rapid transformation of the public service through the above strategies and many other laudable programmes and activities, Change Management still has a very cardinal role to play in ensuring a smooth transition from a bureaucratic to an entrepreneurial, result-oriented and innovative Civil Service among other goals. In this regard, the Webinar series on Change Management which we began some weeks back, will be sustained and made more elaborate.

18. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, more than ever before, your support and cooperation especially in your new capacities is earnestly solicited to enable us succeed in the task ahead. The confidence reposed by Mr. President in me is only reflective of the great expectation he desires from all of us to transform the Service and position it to help him deliver on the Administration’s key priority areas. We have to continue to work as a team knowing that 9 a single tree cannot make a forest. Nobody knows it all. I would rely on your expertise and ideas to make the anticipated difference and bequeath a better Civil Service than we met.

19. Ladies and Gentlemen, for the induction today, we have an the erudite team of resource persons for this 3-day programme and is made up of a former Head of Service of the Federation, the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, retired and serving Permanent Secretaries and the DirectorGeneral of the Budget Office who I am confident will do justice to the array of topics carefully selected for this induction.

20. As I conclude, I wish to leave you with this inspiring quote which goes thus: “Leadership is an active, living process. It is rooted in character, forged by experience, and communicated by example.”

21. I once again welcome you all and wish you a very rewarding experience. The Induction Workshop is therefore declared open to the Glory of God.

22. Thank you and God bless.