There appears to be a silver lining in the sky as the federal government is set to reposition the Service Compact with All Nigerians (SERVICOM), initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 to address the epileptic service delivery that is still prevalent.
This revelation is coming on the heels of the National Policy Dialogue on Strategies for Improving Service Delivery in Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and Commissions tagged: “Efficient and Effective Service Delivery: Imperative for Driving the Change Agenda’’ organised by SERVICOM to brainstorm on ways to boost citizen focused service delivery.
SERVICOM is an acronym derived from the words SERVICE COMPACT, an initiative of the Federal Government developed out of the consensus emerging from a Special Presidential Retreat on Service Delivery.
It is an agreement between the Federal Government and the citizens to guide and sustain the drive for improved service delivery by ensuring that MDAs are more citizen-focused in their operations. The SERVICOM Office is under the supervision of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
The SERVICOM Charter was distributed to all government offices, SERVICOM desks were set up, and officers of grade level 16 reporting directly to the permanent secretaries were in charge of the unit.
SERVICOM is hinged on four main principles: Affirmation of commitment to the service of the Nigerian nation; Conviction that Nigeria can only realize her full potential if citizens receive prompt and efficient services from the state; Consideration for the needs and rights of all Nigerians to enjoy social and economic advancement; Dedication to deliver services to which citizens are entitled, timely, fairly, honestly, effectively and transparently.
A former Head of Service of the Federation, Ama Pepple, said during the National Policy Dialogue that despite the current administration’s change agenda, files are still missing; files are still being piled in one office or the other untreated; indiscipline, corruption and inefficiency looms large throughout the public service.
Pepple also said at the opening of the two-day event held at the State House Conference Centre Abuja that “The SERVICOM Charter was distributed to all government offices, SERVICOM desks were set up, and officers of grade level 16 reporting directly to the permanent secretaries were in charge of the unit.
Pepple added “In the midst of varied and daunting challenges in the country and rising expectations from citizenry, the first question we should ask ourselves is this, in spite of all of the above has SERVICOM achieved its purpose? Definitely not. The public service continues to get knocks, criticism and to be seen in negative light in its service delivery agenda.
“This government places a lot of emphasis on change which the dictionary defines as making the form nature content the future or cause something to be different of what it would have been if it was left alone. And they say change is the only permanent thing in life because everything in life evolves, even a child is born and he changes every day, as he grows older.
“The public service is therefore expected to be an agent of change and driver of change and to spearhead the slogan ‘Change Begins With Me’.
Mr Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) also expressed the Federal Government commitment to revamp the Service Compact agency to ensure effective and efficient public service delivery in the country.
The SGF stated in Abuja at the National Policy Dialogue on Strategies for Improving Service Delivery in Government MDAs and Commissions that revamping of the agency will mark a significant step in government’s effort to enhance and sustain the culture of effective service delivery in all government establishments, to serve the people better.
“The importance of our gathering today is to reflect on Nigeria’s public service delivery journey in the past 12 years of the SERVICOM Initiative, appraise the gains and setbacks.
“Also to develop a framework that will translate governments’ efforts into to tangible improvements in public service delivery.
“Therefore, I urge you to kindly embrace Government’s reaffirmation of the ideals of SERVICOM, by developing a holistic framework to facilitate the anticipated improvements in performance by MDAs as a precursor for better service delivery,’’ the SGF added.
He stated that improving service delivery was part of the change agenda of the present administration, adding there was need to sensitise citizens on their rights to demand high quality services; and articulate new pathways for gaining more efficiency in service delivery.
He added that this could be done through a review of Global best practices in governance and periodic evaluation of the quality of services delivered to citizens.
He underscored the need to sensitise key policy and decision makers both in the public and private sectors on citizens’ expectations and provide a greater support for social accountability in service delivery and to improve government’s connection with the citizenry.
On her part, Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli, Acting National Coordinator, SERVICOM said that a citizen centred approach in service delivery would be adopted in reviving the agency, while redesigning the internal processes of government agencies to achieving the set goal.
Akajemeli advised that to ensure the change agenda of the present administration public servants should see themselves as servants of the citizenry and not masters.
“Public Service in this democratic dispensation comes with legitimate expectations of the populace and the meeting of such needs and expectations is the fundamental objective of this administration.
“In order to achieve this there must be re-orientation of government institutions to optimise access to their sectors by all citizens.
“There must be shift in public service culture orientating public servants to view themselves as servants of citizenry rather than masters as government recognises the need to deliver high quality efficient service delivery at reduced cost’’, she explained.
Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head Civil Service of the Federation, said that before the establishment of SERVICOM, Nigerians were surcharged in the service delivered to them, stressing that Nigerians deserve better service delivery and the present administration is committed to revamping of SERVICOM.
Oyo-Ita said the launch of the “Change Begins With Me” campaign and the resuscitation of quarterly Civil Service lecture series, was a demonstration of the commitment of the administration that it was no longer business as usual in the public service.
Investigation has shown that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) SERVICOM has achieved a great milestone through the establishment of Servicom Networking Standing Committee in the Commission; Approval of Servicom Work Plan for 2009 and 2010; Display of Service Charter at various Service Windows in the Commission; Submission of Integrated Service Charter to the National Servicom Coordinator; Construction of PVC Roll on Banners of Servicom at the NCC Reception; Construction of Podium Stand for the Commission.
The NCC has also shown that the Customer has the right to be served right. The Customers are now enlightened to Stand up for their rights to reject service failure anytime, anywhere via Telecommunication Consumers Parliament, Town Hall meeting among others and has declared 2017 as the ‘Year for the consumer’!