Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria

Civil service reforms in Nigeria are those reforms the civil service of Nigeria has underwent to ensure effective and efficient civil service system in Nigeria. Civil service reforms in Nigeria has been carried out by many administrations, starting from colonial to post colonial, military to democratic time. The major civil service reforms embarked upon over the years in Nigeria includes:

Harraign Commission 1945:

This commission was set up by the colonial government to look into the affairs and problems of the civil service in Nigeria. Outstanding problems then were the shortage of power consequent upon the effect of the Second World War and the discontentment of colonial civil servants with the level of salaries and wages being paid to them. The commission among other things recommended senior service posts for the Europeans and junior service post for the Africans.

Foot Commission of 1948:

Following the weakness and inadequacies of the Harragin Commission, the foot commission was principally set up to look into the inclusion of Nigerians into the senior civil service positions. Two of the basic recommendation are that non Nigerian should not be recruited into the senior civil service position unless no suitable and qualified Nigerians was available and that Public Service Board with non-official majorities should be appointed to select candidates for senior service post and for scholarship and training schemes.

The Gorsuch Commission of 1955:

This commission was set up to inquire into the structure and remuneration of the public service in order to give the federal as well as the regional administrative bureaucracy indigenous structures. The commission in its recommendation opted for civil service structure patterned after the British model. The Gorsuch recommendations were criticized as being foreign and not helping in furthering the indigenous identity of the civil service.

Mbanefo Salaries and Wages Commission of 1959:

Following workers demand for salary increase, the colonial government in Nigeria quickly prepared a civil service that would hold its own when the heat of independence set on. In view of this, there became a need for federal government to appoint a commission that would review upwards the salaries of all public officers in Nigeria civil service. The commission made recommendations increasing the salaries, wages and allowances of public servants.

Morgan Commission of 1963:

This commission purposely called upon to review and address the salaries of junior staff in the public and private sectors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria after independence. The commission was introduced to address the variation of salaries of workers from one region to the other. Another achievement of this commission was that for the first time in Nigeria, civil service commission minimum wages were introduced for the workers.

The Elwood Grading Team of 1964:

This commission was to an extent called to criticize some of the recommendations in the Morgan Commission of 1963. The team was saddled with the responsibility of identifying the anomalies in the grading and condition relating to all posts in the public service in Nigeria. The team also saw the need for minimum basic qualification for direct entry into the various posts in the public service.

The Adebo Salaries and Wages Review Commission of 1971:

The term of reference to this commission were to find out the existing new salaries and wages of all federal government owned companies, parastatals and state owned corporations and to introduce some reforms in terms of new salaries and wages.

The commission was also mandated to review the wages with a view to ensuring the rationalization and harmonization thereby ensuring that a balance was constantly struck between all the government establishments.

The commission recommended a review of all wages and salaries of workers and recommended the stoppage of daily system of payment in federal civil service. Among other recommendations are the establishment of a public service review commission, whose major task would be to ensure that a constant comprehensive review of wages, salaries and conditions of public servants were established throughout Nigeria.

The Udoji Public Service Review Commission of 1972-1974:

Chief Jerome Udoji, a renowned public administrator was appointed as chairman of the commission that was set in 1972 to address and make necessary recommendations and proffers solutions as it affects the Nigeria Civil Service. Their responsibilities as charged were as follows:

  • To invest and make recommendations on civil service matters that is in the best interest of the public.
  • To examine the organizations, structure and management of the public service and make recommendation and reform, where necessary.
  • To review the wages of public servants, with the aid of appropriate grading terms. This is as a result of job variation in the posts of the civil service.

The Onasode Reform of 1984:

This commission that was set up by Alhaji Shehu Shagari reviewed the Udoji uniform structure of the Nigeria civil service and classified parastatals into seven categories.

The Dotun Philips Civil Service Reform of 1988:

Following the inadequacies of the Gamaliel Onasode reforms, the military government of major general Ibrahiim Babagida set up the Dotun Philips Commission to look at critical issues and problems bordering on civil service.

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