Thursday, March 18, 2010

Civil service vital in national development - Says SG Bah

NEWS BANJUL, THE GAMBIA (MB)- Dr Njogu Bah, the secretary general and head of the Civil Service has reiterated that the government of The Gambia recognises the role of the Civil Service in national development.

According to him, the Gambian leader has on many occasions affirmed his government's commitment to achieving the goals stated in Vision 2020 and the PRSPII. Dr Bah made this remarks Monday at the opening of a three-day workshop on the theme "performance and result-based management in the African public sector institutions and state agencies, implementation strategies, challenges and political solutions", organised by the African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD); the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI); the Personnel Management Office (PMO) and the Management Development Institute (MDI).

According to him, the training comes at a right time as it coincided with the execution of the Civil Service Reform Programme approved by the president and cabinet. He observed that the success and attainment of the goals stated in Vision 2020 and the PRSPII depends to a very large extent on the performance of the Civil Service. "The Gambia Civil Service must, therefore, undergo reforms that will transform it into an organisation that enables the government to deliver," he said.

SG Bah said as a framework to assist the nation in its efforts to achieve the MDGs and the goals of Vision 2020, in November 2006, The Gambia issued the second Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRSP II) for 2007-2011. He explained that PRSP II has five pillars or areas of intervention, including creating an enabling policy environment to promote growth and poverty reduction and enhancing governance systems.

The PRSP II, he said, recognises the attainment of the goals of Vision 2020 and the medium-term plan/PRSP depends to a large extent on the performance of public sector institutions. "In this regard, the reform of the Civil Service structures and processes is considered vital. In-line with this, the government launched a programme of Civil Service reforms in 2007, aimed at strengthening the institutional capacity for policy formulation, human resources development and programmes," he said.

For his part, Omar G. Sallah, the permanent secretary, Personnal Management Office and chairman MDI Board of Governors said the government of The Gambia has embarked on a series of reforms particularly in the domain of Civil Service reform, financial and economic management reforms coupled with the second poverty reduction strategy (PRSPII) for the period 2007-2011.

According to him, these efforts in the modernisation of the public service and the transformation of the economy are championed by President Jammeh who demonstrates the support of the leadership in its commitment to creating an efficient, effective, transparent and progressive Civil Service resulting in a laudable service delivery system aligned to the needs and aspirations of the people, especially the poor and the vulnerable.

He then stated that given the importance of service delivery and the modernisation of the Civil Service through effective reform, there is need to include performance and results-based management in the operations. He described the workshop as timely at this stage of the socio-economic transformation, calling for discipline and dedication to serve and optimal utilisation of state resources to achieve the development aspirations.

Dr Jainaba ML Kah, the director general of MDI also described the workshop as timely and relevant given the current trends in African public administration where officers are challenged to respect budget constraints and optimise expenditures, making prudent use of public resources. She thanked CAFRAD and IRTI for localising their training needs and building partnerships with local institutions.

Muhammad M.O. Kah the vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia (UTG) informed the gathering that his institution is undergoing transformation of institutional processes to provide requisite human resources needed by the civil service to ensure efficiency, productivity and improved governance.

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