Manpower Placement and Utilisation in the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria.

Author: Ekerendu, Edet Antai

Supervisor: Adedokun Jagun

The issue of public service performance and productivity where by public officials are required to provide the public with the best service possible is a major challenge for the modern civil services The Nigerian federal civil service which has grown bulky in the last decades after independence faces the problem of utilizing its manpower to meet public demand for increasingly better services. The general notion still persists that government staff work less and that the services they render do not reflect the size and composition of the civil service work force. Since inappropriate placement and utilization of manpower can seriously affect, employee's productivity, performance and satisfaction, it is therefore necessary to examine and ascertain the extent to which adequate manpower placement and utilization is practiced in the federal civil service. In doing so, the study should provide an insight into certain aspects of government management. Most public criticism of the Public Service in Nigeria especially the Civil Services reflect a deep rooted dissatisfaction with overall performance by staff, the large number on the payroll notwithstanding. Comparison with the private sector is often made but in general such comparison appears misplaced because the nature of functions are not entirely the same nor the personnel practices similar. Effort to apply modern management techniques to the affairs of public services meet with relatively modest success because the organisational and structural framework differs from those of profit oriented organisations. The subject of manpower placement and utilization in the federal civil service is an attempt to study such personnel management issues as recruitment, training, transfer, incentives and productivity. In the realm of public personnel management or science of administration, the study examines several other areas such a political and democratic control of the Civil Services, performance, measurement, placement policies in a federal set up such as in Nigeria, training and utilization of personnel in designated functions of the various Ministries, government Departments and agencies; that militate against effective utilization of trained and qualified personnel such as the unstable political system that fails to provide stability to the civil service itself in terms of the management of its human resources. In order to present the problem in its true perspective, a historical review of key elements relating to civil service personnel management since colonial times is attempted. These include the various types of government and their impact on the selection, placement and the use made of the personnel of the Civil Service. The changes effected by each successive government of the personnel structure of the Civil Service with the aim of increasing their productivity is examined although the extent to which such objectives had been achieved remains the focal point of reference for the study. It is precisely in this respect that no time frame is provided for the study, but it rather draws upon and emphasises the administrative and political issues that prevent a satisfactory practice of manpower placement and utilization in the present federal civil service. Since the Service like other organisations are always evolving and particularly with the political changes in the country, it is expected that major reforms in its personnel structures will continue to be undertaken. What has emerged in the study is that manpower placement in the federal civil service of Nigeria is influenced by the need to maintain ethnic balance at the top echelon of personnel especially those involved in policy formulation and who are placed in advisory and management capacities. This "federal character" policy in turn affects performance and productivity of staff, factors in themselves induced by personal dissatisfaction. In terms of basic personnel practices, recruitment respects basic qualifications but placements on job functions are sometimes to fill vacancies and satisfy functional status rather than job-skill-watch. In most instances jobs are not well defined and as a result personnel initiatives are lacking but conformity with procedural norms are emphasised. Although training in absolute numbers and by real expenditures are on the increase the basic post training functions to be performer remained in most cases the same. One is led to conclude that post-training placement as a function of manpower utilization is weak. Training in the Service except for strictly professional job positions are to satisfy personal development needs of staff and measurement of productivity induced by training remains in that respect, a problem. It is concluded that while the Federal Civil Service has strived to fulfil its basic functional role of assisting the Government of the day to maintain law and order in the society and to expand on its new role in the social and economic field, more remains to be done in the personnel management areas to increase productivity of staff. These include maintaining a more viable organisational structure for the Service which should recognise the political nature as well as the economic and social welfare functions of the civil service. Productivity in the Federal Civil Service which is the objective of better manpower placement and utilization can therefore be measured in terms of the stability of the political system as well as the efficiency with which public services are managed to enable private initiatives to prosper.