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The Role of Human Capital Development in Positioning Civil Service for Sustainable Productivity and Service Delivery

Nigeria's Foremost Industry-focused HR Executives' and CEOs' Conference

November 27th - 28th, 2018

About The Conference

The origin, structure and performance of the civil service dates back to the early nineties, with the introduction of the British colonial rule in Nigeria. Designed as an agency with the primary aim to facilitate colonial rule and exploit resources for the benefit of the colonial masters, the Nigerian civil service was structured purely for administrative effectiveness.

Post-independence came the Nigerianization policy. The essence of this policy was to extend the philosophy of the newly established independence to the Nigerian civil service by ensuring that it is staffed, managed and controlled by Nigerians. The Nigerianization policy was a laudable initiative, however the human capital readiness of the nation at the time was inadequate for effective administration of the civil service.

In an attempt to bridge the human capital gaps in the civil service, several steps were taken by successive governments to strategically reposition human resource administration in the country. Such steps include but are not limited to the setting up of the various commissions and bodies to reform the civil service including the Morgan constitution of 1963, Adebo commission of 1971, Udoji commission of 1974 and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) in 1992 amongst others. While the focus of most of these service reforms has been on capacity development and service delivery, the complex interplay between the dearth of human capabilities and the politicisation of the implementation process adversely impacted the effectiveness if these initiatives. The oil price boom of the seventies that resulted in large transfer of wealth to the nation also had the unintended consequence distracting succeeding governments from the drive for administrative improvement, and further reducing the focus on national productivity. Nigeria experienced series of such oil booms into the early part of the 20th century, over this period the civil service paid little attention to the human capital assets that made their private counterparts successful as business entities.

Fast forward to 2015, oil prices became less attractive and global competitiveness of nations is more about human capital than natural resources. Recent international research findings also indicate that human capital development and an efficient public service are critically important determinants of societal transformation, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). On the one hand government’s oil export earnings is rapidly declining with inflation and exchange rates on the rise. On the other hand, government has come under intense pressure from labour to review wages, however this is only possible if there is a drastic boost in productivity of the civil service as the external environment continues to compel government to be more prudent in spending.

Furthermore, governments around the world are under increasing pressure to become more transparent, open and accountable, and build institutions that are responsive to citizens’ aspirations to restore or maintain trust in government.

Human capital and technology are the primary drivers of productivity, hence there is a dire need to embark on programmes targeted at attracting, retaining and developing the human capital capability to drive the Nigerian civil service into the 21st century and lead an accelerated national development. To achieve this objective, the HR function of the Civil Service must develop the capability to attract some of the smartest minds in the country, offer them attractive/rewarding careers opportunities and help them develop to their full potential.

The changing civil service demographics also increases the complexity of the required capacity building interventions as new civil service recruits often have different learning needs, hence the need to adapt developmental programmes to the changing needs of governments and civil servants.

By encouraging a learning culture and making the necessary capacity building investments in critical and function-specific competencies in the areas of finance, commercial acumen, personal effectiveness, policy formulation, policy administration, design thinking, e-governance, communication, service delivery and leadership, the civil service will be investing in the highly overdue foundation that will ensure consistent improvement in service effectiveness and efficiency.

The Strategic Human Resources Executive Conferences (SHREC) is a unique opportunity for Senior HR Executives in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to gain deep, pragmatic and sector-specific insight on how to strategically drive productivity through human capital development.

The conference would situate HR professionals in the public sector among peers, not just of their vocational tribe – HR, but also provide the opportunity to rub minds with professionals confronting similar challenges; deliberate on effective strategies that would transform human capital development in the service; and a platform for exchanging experiences and good practices that will ensure that public sector employees have the skills and competencies to address current and future national priorities.

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