The federal government has commenced the training of some selected officers of Grade Level 08-14 ahead of their conversion to the planning cadre in the federal civil service.
The training expected to last for two weeks at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN), Kubwa Abuja, commenced with 800 officers, at the end of which 250 will be selected for another intensive training preparatory to their conversion to the planning cadre by the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).
Declaring the event open, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, explained how the service settled for the initial 800 officers for the exercise, saying the selection was rigorous and competitive.
“Officers on Grade Levels 08–14 in the mainstream federal service were invited to apply for lateral conversion to the Planning Officer Cadre. In response to the circular, a total of 1,704 applications were received out of which about 800 officers were found eligible based on the set criteria.
“Our target is to select the best 250 officers out of the 800 eligible candidates and subject them to intensive training. In order to identify the best hands, a competency test was administered to the candidates.
“The first selection examination took place on 8 April, 2021 while the final selection examination took place on 19 May, 2021. While these activities were being carried out, a robust training curriculum for the Cadre was put in place by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), in collaboration with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and our Management Development Institutes (MDIs), to address the identified training needs. In line with our quality assurance principle, the curriculum has been reviewed by a committee of seasoned serving and retired senior civil servants,” Yemi-Esan said.
On the reasons for the resuscitation of the planning cadre, the Head of Service said that effective governance requires the capacity to develop and execute short, medium and long-term strategic plans in order to solve complex problems thereby providing a guide for government to make effective decisions.
She said, “Over the years, there has been an exponential decline in the ability of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to fulfil these roles in the delivery of their mandates for the actualization of national goals.
“Our almost moribund Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS) departments that are saddled with the responsibilities of articulating and driving government’s plans, projects and programmes are currently challenged by the dearth of adequate manpower to discharge their mandates.
“It is now overdue to reinforce our PRS departments while a structured recruitment process is put in place by the Federal Civil Service Commission to beef up the pool of officers.”
As part of measures to bridge the existing gaps created by inadequacy of planning officer cadre, Yemi-Esan said her Office initiated the reinforcement of the Planning Officer Cadre through the issuance of a service wide circular in July, 2020 and the subsequent commencement of other selection activities.
According to her, “The focus of this initiative is to identify and develop a new and cerebral crop of officers to effectively carryout corporate and strategic planning through research activities, acquisition, interpretation and preservation of data and information for the Civil Service.”
In his remarks, Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Prof. Gbadebo Smith, tasked the participants to take the training seriously.
He urged them to embrace a life-long of constant learning to make their marks in the Planning, Research and Statistics departments of the civil service.