A strong-powered committee formed by the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, has requested that 21 out of 47 permanent secretaries vacate their seats in order to restructure the state civil service.
The committee which submitted its report to the governor on the 9th of October 2019, said it was worrisome that a rural state like Zamfara with only seventeen ministries and fourteen local government areas could be operating with 47 permanent secretaries.
“Most of them were not qualified for the positions but they were promoted politically” the committee noted.
The Committee said it was out to review the civil service structure, map out procedures that will ensure optimal performance and greater productivity to make appropriate recommendations taking into account the primacy of public interest.
In his statewide broadcast, Governor Matawalle noted that upon receipt of the report, he appointed a Whitepaper Committee to evaluate and come up with appropriate positions of the government.
He said the committee had completed its assignment and submitted a report covering various issues raised by the Restructuring Committee.
“It accepted the recommendations for the restructuring of ministries from the existing 19 to 11.
“However, after careful consideration, government has approved the following ministries:
1. Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources;
2. Ministry of Investment, Business Development, and Tourism;
3. Ministry of Education, Science and Technology;
4. Ministry of Environment, Mines, and Solid Minerals;
5. Ministry of Finance;
6. Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning;
7. Ministry of Rural Development and Cooperatives;
8. Ministry of Security and Home Affairs;
9. Ministry of Religious Affairs;
10. Ministry of Water Resources;
11. Ministry of Youths Empowerment and Skills Acquisition;
12. Ministry of Information;
13. Ministry for Local Government and Community Development;
14. Ministry of Works;
15. Ministry of Health;
16. Ministry of Justice; and
17. Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare
Similarly, in addition to the existing Directorates, the Government has approved the establishment of the following new Directorates and Bureaus:
i. Directorate of Housing and Urban Development;
ii. Directorate of Lands and Survey;
iii. Directorate of Chieftaincy Affairs;
iv. Directorate of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development;
v. Directorate of Labour Matters;
vi. Directorate of Intercommunity Relations;
vii. Bureau for Public Procurement;
viii. Bureau for Public Service Reform;
8. Another thorny issue addressed by the report of the Committee on Restructuring of the Civil Service is that of the number of our permanent secretaries vis a vis our scarce resources. All assessments have shown that our state has a far greater number of permanent secretaries than any of our sister states in the north-west, saying that with 47 permanent secretaries, the system has become saturated and overburdened.
‘‘The Restructuring Committee, therefore, invited all the permanent secretaries and subjected them to a written test and interview in order to assess their competence”
“Based on the outcome of the assessment, only 25 out of the 47 qualified for retention as permanent secretaries.
“The Committee also recommended the appointment of one additional person, in recognition of his worthiness, as a permanent secretary, bringing the number of the permanent secretaries recommended to 26, stressing that the white paper committee accepted the recommendations
“As for the permanent secretaries who did not qualify for retention government would consider those found eligible for appointment as career Directors General, Managing Directors, Executive Secretaries, Secretaries and other appropriate positions.
He said that details of other recommendations and guidelines on a wide range of issues relating to the civil service accepted by the government would be communicated to the public by the Secretary to the State Government, and the Head of Service in due course.
Matawalle also explained that in order to sustain the cordial relations between the Government and trade and labour unions, his administration would establish a Directorate for Labour Matters, to be headed by a Special Adviser.
As said by him, the Directorate will have the authority to deal with all government issues – labor relations to ensure harmonious state industrial relations.