It is my pleasure today to welcome all of you to this swearing-in ceremony.
I warmly congratulate the new Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko, on his meritorious appointment. In searching for a worthy replacement for the outgone Head of Service, the qualities of diligence, competence, dynamism, innovation, excellence, and sincerity of purpose were top on our priority list. It is gratifying to note that the new Head of Service possesses these qualities in good measure and, therefore, was the best candidate for the position of the number one civil servant in the State at this point in time.
Let me also use this opportunity to appreciate the erstwhile Head of Service, Mr Patrick Origho, for his faithful service to the State, not just as Head of Service but as a civil servant who played his part to move the State forward. It is my prayer that God will abundantly reward your loyalty with good health, favour and His blessing as you begin another phase of your life.
As most of us here know, the avowed mission of the Civil Service, as stated in the Civil Service Law, 1993 PNDCL 327, “is to assist the Government in the formulation and implementation of government policies for the development of the country.” As the chief driver of that process, the position of the Head of Service is, therefore, one of weighty responsibility and utmost confidentiality.
To a large extent, the success or otherwise of government policies and programmes depends on the ability of the Civil Service to correctly interpret, internalise and execute such programmes and policies. The Head of Service is expected to lead this process while maintaining an effective work style that is responsive, creative, selfless and proactive.
We are desirous of a public sector driven by the principles and values of professionalism, transparency, fiscal discipline, timely and excellent service delivery, and zero tolerance for corruption. As Head of Service, your role in this vision is to build an efficient, disciplined and performance-driven Civil Service, critical to the successful implementation of our S.M.A.R.T agenda.
I don’t think there is anybody here who does not agree that the rank and file of the Civil Service need a paradigm shift. There is nowhere that shift is needed more than in the attitude and orientation of the workforce. I make bold to say that the Civil Service has never lacked qualified personnel; I believe we have enough of them in the system. The problem is not one of ethnicity either.
The problem, I dare say, is one of commitment. Many civil servants are just not committed to their work. The lack of commitment is the reason why absenteeism, unethical conduct, sharp practices and the ghost-worker syndrome have become the order of the day.
Commitment is the feeling of responsibility that a person has towards the mission and goals of an institution, organization or Government, and the willingness to participate to bring them to realisation. To quote the famous American President Abraham Lincoln, commitment is what translates promise to reality.
Committed people are driven by the philosophy and goals of the organisation and dedicate themselves to achieving it. They live and breathe the declared vision and mission of the organisation or administration, and are ready to take up tasks and responsibilities that will actualise them. Committed people take ownership of the organisation; they don’t have an ‘us and them’ mentality. They will speak up when things are going wrong, and take appropriate action to get the system back on track.
Committed people are willing to sacrifice their time and comfort for the collective good of all. They bring new ideas and initiatives to their work because they care for the organisation and want it to succeed. People who are committed take care of government property in their possession as if it were their own. They will not speak evil of the organisation; they will defend it and protect its integrity no matter what.
The scenario I have painted above is a far cry from what is obtainable in the Civil Service today. Even in the midst of the most challenging financial crisis that this State has faced in its 25-year history, many civil servants are still carrying on as if they are oblivious of the prevailing economic indices in the country. That can only happen because they don’t have a sense of commitment to the government they work for.
We are at a crossroads in the history of our nation. The current economic crunch is a wake-up call on all of us to look inwards and begin to do things differently. We must be more proactive, resourceful and, yes, committed to the ideals of innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness in generating and managing public finances. The world is changing fast; sadly too many of us are still stuck with the old mind-set. That has to change. It has been said that to keep doing the same thing and expect different results is foolhardy.
The task before the new Head of Service is, therefore, herculean. As a first step, I urge you to pursue an aggressive orientation/advocacy for the Civil Service workforce so they can appreciate and key into the policy plans of this administration in order to achieve our stated goals of job creation, inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
Commitment grows when people have shared values, work as a team, hold one another accountable to high ethical standards and, above all, when they see their leaders set good examples both in their official conduct and personal lives. Mr Head of Service, you must bear in mind that many people will be looking up to you as the standard bearer. The onus is on you to be a good role model for them to emulate.
Finally, let me make it abundantly clear that we can have the best ideas and best policies but without the commitment of every one we will fall far short of our targets and goals. I am a firm believer in the aphorism that “individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilisation work.”