Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, has briefed civil servants in the country of ongoing reforms in the Service aimed at improving the welfare of public servants.
Speaking, Wednesday, at the second edition of the ‘Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office Quarterly Breakfast Meeting’ with labour, Oyo-Ita said the timing of the conference on Valentine’s Day indicates “good fortunes for Government-Labour relations”.
At the parley which held at Reiz Continental Hotel in Abuja, the Head of Service expressed pleasure that the pending issues pertaining to promotions for the 2014 batch of Directors in the Administration had been resolved.
Mrs Oyo-Ita said the lifting of the court injunction on the issue had also led to the conduct of examinations for the 2015-2017 batch of Directors in the same cadre.
“Over 290 Deputy Directors sat for the exams, out of which about 140 were successful, with this achievement, I am certain, that going forward, the Civil Service will ventilate itself and officers will be rewarded for hard work,” she said.
While acknowledging the support of the Muhammadu Buhari regime in resolving the issue, the HoS said the development has also created a solution to the issue of dearth of directors of administration in Ministries, Departments and agencies.
She said departments which were previously manned by officers in acting capacity would now be manned by substantive directors.
Oyo-Ita further told the 8 Unions and Council leaders that her office had set up two committees to address other issues raised by Labour on the welfare of civil servants.
According to her, the committees, which will be inaugurated this Friday, will help develop a policy framework for public service disaster prevention and safety management.
The joint committee is also saddled with the responsibility of developing a framework for the implementation of occupational safety and health programme in the service.
Speaking further with journalists on the life insurance scheme introduced for public servants by the government, Oyo-Ita said: “The Federal government has implemented the group life insurance scheme which is a scheme whereby upon the loss of a worker his family or his next of kin will be entitled to some insurance.
“This scheme has already been working for some years now but apparently not many of the union members or union leaders know about it and apparently had a lot of mixed concept about what the scheme really does.
“So, with this quarterly breakfast meeting, the office of head of the service has been able to enlighten the union executive and also collect from them complains or issues which needed to be resolved as regards this group life so definitely whatever have been the shortcomings we would improve on its implementation.
When asked on what Nigerian workers stand to gain from the meeting with labour unions, she said, “A lot of benefits….you see there has been no cordial environment for the government to interface with the representatives of the Nigerian workers.
“The only time government meets with the labor leaders is when there is a crisis and this should not be so we are in a family you don’t have to wait till you quarrel with your wife and family before you resolve issues, you meet them regularly so that what we are doing.
“We have a cordial atmosphere at this breakfast meeting there was networking, then afterward in a very warm cordial way we discuss and people brought up issues and we corrected whatever issues and then we pick up their challenges and then see how to resolve them. So, it is a very good introduction for the service.”
On his part, Comrade Mohammed Kiri, Deputy President Nigeria Labour Congress, said it is a good initiative that has never been done before, as it has addressed major areas that affects workers in the country.
He further commended the Head of Service and her team, saying the initiative has brought about smooth passage of bills to councils, adding that the relationship should be sustained for the betterment of the Service.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary Service Welfare, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack, expressed the Federal Government’s determination to have a good working relationship with Labour.
She further stated that since the commencement of the quarterly parley last year, the relationship between the Government and Labour has improved, adding that the outcome of the first meeting has been so impressive.
She thanked Mrs Oyo-Ita for honouring the meeting, noting that the interaction is critical as the relationship will build a positive outcome.