By Emmanuel Afonne and Jessica Onyegbula
The Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) will organise skills gap analyses before the end of the year as part of ongoing reforms in the public service and close mentorship gap, the Director-General of BPSR, Mr Dasuki Arabi, says.
Dasuki made the disclosure in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, explaining that the move was to ensure the public service continued to enjoy public trust.
Arabi said that the bureau noticed lots of gaps, especially in skills and mentorship, and as such was collaborating with the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to ensure that Federal Government workers received adequate training to perform their jobs.
He said there was a need to quickly fill knowledge gaps in the service to restore confidence, promote competence and enhance service delivery.
“We have noticed a lot of gaps in mentorship. The skills gap is so wide and we are planning to do service-wide skills gap analyses before the end of this year to see where the problems are, and we will advise government on how to solve it.
“If we don’t have skills, we cannot deliver. It is because of that we are collaborating with Digital Bridge Institute to see how we can encourage government agencies to train their staff.
“It is because of that we are getting closer to Public Service Institute of Nigeria and other development centres and institutes of government to encourage and support them, especially the parastatal (agencies) to send their staff to those places for training.
“Foreign trainings are almost impossible because of the lean resources we have but it doesn’t mean that if we are not going to London, we cannot send our staff for training.
“At most of the training centres I was privileged to go when we were still embarking on foreign trainings, you will see at least one Nigerian out of 10 resource persons in most of the institutions,” Arabi said.
According to Arabi, government agencies must train their staff to ensure continuity in the service.
He said the training of personnel was imperative considering that most officers in the public and civil service were retiring without transferring knowledge to those coming behind them.
He said the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, was doing a lot in terms of capacity building going by the recent re-launching of the Structured Mandatory Assessment-Based Training Programme and Leadership, Enhancement Advancement Development Programme.
“These trainings are not optional, they are compulsory. I think that by the time the head of service concludes, it will be like the military where for you to move from captain to major, you must go to military training school in Jaji, Kaduna, and spend six months as well as pass specific exams.
“We are trying our best to encourage heads of agencies to train their staff; and as human beings, we are heading organisations not because we are the best Nigerians but because we must leave a legacy as we are exiting and the legacies others will take over.
“We have the capacity; we have the resource persons, so why not impart the knowledge?
“ There is no need of keeping someone for 10 years and when someone is exiting and the new officers are expected to do one or two things, a retiree will be called from retirement to come and help out in the assignment.
“I think it’s a call for us to be more patriotic, sincere and honest to ourselves to love our nation and to see that we build the capacity of the persons working with us and the ones that will take over from us,” Arabi said.