Government called upon to improve and strengthen public service
The service, which is an important tool for the equitable distribution of the wealth, has not performed creditably and poverty levels remain high on the continent, Dr Shiabu Ahmed Gariba, Director General, Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) said at the on-going 2013 Africa Public Service Day Celebration in Accra, on Wednesday.
The week-long programme, which is on the theme; “Africa Public Service in the Age of Open Government: Giving Voice to Citizens,” is being attended by African Ministers of public service, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, academia, and identified student bodies.
He said any capacity building envisaged for the public service should go beyond the traditional approach of focusing on building organizations and individual skills to strengthen public service institution and increasing transparency and accountability in their activities as well as empowering citizens to demand for better services.
“To achieve this, the MDPI would have to be strengthened, empowered as well as well resourced to play a leading role in this process”
He noted that the MDPI has a vital and critical role to play in building capacity in the public service, adding that, since its inception the institute had played varied roles to help address the capacity challenges of the service.
“If strengthened and empowered, the MDPI would be able to play these roles more effectively and could assist the Public Sector to train public service workers in project management, monitoring and evaluation, procurement management and human resource management.
He said these courses had become necessary with the current debate on the growing wage bill and finding ways of linking public service wages to productivity, adding that, the MDPI was the only institute with the expertise, and needs to be resourced to develop an approach and methodology for a productivity-linked wage system for public service.
On challenges facing the MDPI, Dr Gariba said because there was no ambiguity in respect of the Legislative Instrument which established the institute, it has come across as being weak and inadequately resourced and this has constrained the institute from performing its mandated function.
He mentioned poor conditions of service, low public awareness of the institute’s activities, inadequate training opportunity for staff, ICT literacy and crave for merit certificate courses as some the challenges facing the institute.
He called for support from government and donor agencies to assist in the improvement of the institutional capacity of MDPI to enable it to provide transparent, accountable, timely, efficient and effective quality management, consultancy, research and productive management to public service.
These challenges, notwithstanding, Dr Gariba said the MDPI has expanded activities in West Africa, with training programmes been patronized by both local people and foreigners and working with the graduate Business Support Scheme to assist unemployed graduates to acquire managerial skills to start and operate small business as well as finding paid employment among others.