Bayelsa State Government has again received commendation for its commitment to the welfare of workers in the state civil service.
The Bayelsa State Administrative Officers Forum gave the commendation on Tuesday when it paid a courtesy visit on the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
Speaking on behalf of the Forum, the Chairman, Dr. Stanley Sokari, appreciated the Governor Douye Diri-led administration for prioritizing workers welfare in its scale of preference.
Dr. Sokari noted that the administration had demonstrated an uncommon will and friendly disposition towards workers by ensuring prompt payment of their salaries, implementation of yearly increments and promotion of professionalism in the service.
He said, “We wish to use this opportunity to appreciate the Prosperity Administration under the leadership of our Governor, Senator Douye Diri, ably assisted by your humble self, for its friendly disposition towards civil servants in the state.
“It is on record that Bayelsa State is one of the very few states in the country where annual increments are implemented and where salaries are paid before the end of every month.”
He, however, called on the State Government to take urgent steps to address the impending knowledge gap in the service through capacity building and sponsorship of administrative officers into relevant professional bodies.
Dr Sokari lamented that only about twenty percent of administrative officers in the state are members of relevant professional organizations such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management and the Nigeria Institute of Management due to inability to meet requisite financial commitments.
He appealed to the government to consider members of the Forum while making appointments into high level political positions that borders on administration in the service.
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, called for the institutionalization of annual awards for civil servants in the state, to motivate them for higher commitment, professionalism and productivity.
He noted that civil servants, especially the administrative officers, constituted the engine room for policy implementation, stressing that the introduction of best staff awards in different ministries and agencies would bring about significant improvement in the civil service.
His words, “I’m an apostle of positive reward because once there is a mismatch between the excitement in doing the work and the reward that will come out of the work, the worker is likely to stay behind or be demoralized.
“Because his or her excitement does not receive a commensurate and proportionate reward. The reward must not be necessarily bread and better, that is, in monetary terms. There are other factors of motivation.
“So, we can institute the Annual Civil Service Award cutting across all the ministries in the state. We can institutionalize it and ensure that every ministry produces first, second and third best staff.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo who advocated the continued capacity building of civil servants, assured that the present administration would do everything possible to make the state Public Service Training Institute functional to check capital flight and generate revenues for the state.
Underscoring the importance of administrative officers in the service, Senator Ewhrudjakpo stressed that it was necessary for government to be guided in the appointment of permanent secretaries on the basis of administrative experience, merit and competence.
He therefore advised the administrative officers in the state to be more proactive and set up an advocacy team to impress on government to see the need to appoint administrative officers as permanent secretaries.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo assured the Administrative Officers’ Forum that government would support their upcoming Annual Lecture Series on the improvement of the State Civil Service.