Dr. Emmanuel Johnson PhD: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 December 2019:
In every nation, be it democratic or otherwise, the central government would only achieve its desired aim if it has a potent, determined and productive Civil Service.
This is also to imply that the public institution (the civil service) should be politically neutral, professional, independent, and development-oriented.
Sierra Leone’s Civil Service is as old as Methuselah that has been principally responsible for facilitating the day-to-day affairs of the country.
Over the years, the institution has largely shown maturity in its activities and operations. Candidly, we should have achieved much in Sierra Leone, but there is little or nothing to write home about today.
At the close of the last century and the beginning of this millennium, the public has detected shortcomings in Sierra Leone’s Civil Service; and has in no small way affected the holistic performance of the nation in all the previous United Nations Human Index Reports.
We would agree with the submission that the failure of the previous leaderships is linked to the ineffective, inefficient and unpatriotic attitude of many Sierra Leonean civil servants.
Sierra Leone has a serious national issue to contend with, if we are to even think of experiencing positive economic development. This is because we cannot divorce the development processes from our civil service; and in view of the fact that we have a conspicuously inept civil service, we are finding it very difficult to compromise the two issues.
No matter what is being said, as a nation, we need to think development-oriented and this can only be realistic when we experience an effective and efficient performance of the Civil Service.
This is important if we are to promote not only the vision of the elected government of President Dr. Julius Maada Bio but, to ensure that they improve their standards to those of International Standards, which will further help in the promotion of democratic good governance and hence economic growth and sustainable development.
The poor performance recorded by our civil service over the recent past have brought several issues to mind. Most of the issues are in the minds of every Sierra Leonean, and largely rest on the mechanisms that government institute to bring the much talked about improvement in the civil service.
This instantly brings us to what needs to be done now by the newly elected government of the President Dr. Julius Maada Bio to improve the status and performance level of the country’s civil service.
The answers to these questions are manifold, and we must make every attempt to ensure that we present them hastily. We have suggested that the answers presented now and in a very realistic manner because we want to provide potent reasons for critics, not to even mention the cheap issue of Witch hunting and tribalism as protests against what might be a submission.
Without wasting time, the newly elected government of His Excellency the President, BRIG. (RTD) Dr. Julius Maada Bio must actively embark on the redundancy of unprecedented number of civil servants that have reached the retirement age of sixty-five years (60-65 yrs.).
If a random survey of the age differentials in the civil service is conducted today, the government would be shocked to come to terms with the harsh reality that over forty (40%) of the civil servants have attained their optimum and are now liabilities to the government.
This might be the more reason, most of these inefficient civil servants are not only reporting late for duties but they also leave earlier than others, doing nothing for the day. They only report for duties to read newspapers, make telephone calls and meet with loved ones. Frankly, their presence in the civil service is perennially bringing down the standards of the institution.
Thus, it is implicit that the overwhelming numbers of civil servants that have surpassed the retirement age are primarily responsible for the inefficient and ineffectiveness of our esteemed civil service. Sadly, their overdue presence in the civil service of this country has given them an undue advantage over younger civil servants and those aspiring to join the service.
Being that they are mostly over-familiar with the modus operandi within this public institution, the most aged civil servants have unpatriotically used their experiences to amass ill-gotten wealth, which is in fact supposed to be for national development. Some civil servants have never transferred from one ministry to another.
This is probably another reason there are clear practices of corruption in most of Sierra Leone’s government ministries.
We hope that President Dr. Julius Maada Bio would embark on a massive redundancy program, to inject young and vibrant personnel that would work towards the overall growth of our economy. But his government must ensure that the existing personnel and the would-be civil servants get transferred from one location to another to ensure that existing cabals get destroyed in the system.
People of sound and reasonable mind would always know the significance of the conduct of training exercises for every private or public institution, if they are to experience unprecedented growth and sustainable development.
Even though we would not emphatically debunk the idea of training programs for civil servants, we would also not hesitate to mention that such training is reserved mostly for privileged civil servants and non-civil servants.
This is to imply that unpatriotism and corruption have been the yardstick for the selective appointments of some civil servants to attend training programs. This is seriously undermining the performance and development of the civil service in the country.
As a matter of urgency, we are urging the Public Service Commission (PSC) to address this issue immediately, to save the Civil Service institution from sinking lower.
We are conscious, as earlier stated, that the problems which are affecting our civil service are complex multiple. But the government must take urgent actions.