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ASCON holds 2-week training for chief executives of federal parastatals, agencies

By Raji Rasak [NAN]


No fewer than 40 directors-general and chief executive officers of federal parastatals and agencies on Monday began a two-week capacity building programme to sharpen their skills for optimum performance in driving government agenda.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mandatory training programme for the administrative heads and accounting officers of federal parastatals and agencies was organised by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Badagry.

Speaking during the opening ceremony in Badagry, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said that government was strategically repositioning the agencies to serve the purpose for which they were created.

According to him, the repositioning is in pursuit of President Muhammadu Buhari’s diversification agenda and generating the much-needed revenue for government to provide required social services to our teeming population.

“Most of your agencies were set up especially as intervention agencies to fill a much-needed vacuum that reduces ordinarily tortuous bureaucracy in achieving development objectives within the context of the public sector.

“It is, therefore, necessary to operate within the ambit of the specific Acts establishing your agencies as well as Public Service Rules and extant circulars,” he said.

Mustapha, who was represented by Mr. Paul Adejo, Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, reiterated that public service in its entirety was a culture guided by fundamental rules and regulations enshrined in FG documents.

He said that the two-week training programme would empower all chief executive officers with the requisite knowledge on the essential principle and the tenets of public administration and the rules and regulations governing the operations.

“The capacity building programme should be seen as an intervention that strengthens your organization’s ability to fulfill its mission by promoting sound management, strong governance and re-dedication to achieving results,” he said.

Mustapha, however, cautioned the CEOs to avoid arbitrary actions and be guided by their enabling laws and relevant rules and regulations in the discharge of their roles and responsibilities as administrative heads and accounting officers of the parastatals and agencies.

According to him, the federal government will be alive to its responsibilities and ready to hold your back within the ambits of law.

In his remarks, Chief Nduka Anyanwu, Chairman, ASCON Governing Board, said the board had been working with the director-general to improve their services which had resulted into tangible achievement that changed the college.

“We have no doubt that at the end of the training you will leave here better and well-equipped as seasoned administrators so that in turn, the professional knowledge acquired here with add value in your various agencies and parastatals as well as the Nigerian public service in general.

“Without mincing words, we can do better only if we can continue to get support from top ranking public servants like you.

“We urge you to please encourage your colleagues and other public servants to patronize our services so that periodic training in ASCON will become a culture which will also positively affect our public life in Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking on the programme, Mrs. Cecilia Gayya, ASCON Director-General, said the rational for the training was premised on the huge responsibilities placed on the shoulders of the CEOs of parastatals and agencies to deliver goods and services to the citizens.

“It is worth noting that in spite of the huge responsibilities placed on the shoulders of CEOs, many of them unlike top-level civil servants such as Permanent Secretaries, did not necessarily grow through the ranks in the system and so acquire public service knowledge and experience over time.

“Rather, most are brought in from outside the public service, yet are expected to run their organizations using rules, regulations, Acts of the National Assembly effectively in the conduct of organizational business.

“This course will therefore afford the CEO’s the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of their mandates and how these could be properly aligned to the goals and objectives of government.

“This also includes their roles and relationships with their respective supervising Ministries and Boards, development and execution of corporate strategy in the public service environment, aligning planning.

“Budgeting, institutionalizing effective performance management systems, and dealing with Human Resources Management, Financial Management, Public Procurement and Corporate Governance Issues.

“The programme should also afford CEOs the opportunity to rub minds; learn from each other and devise methods of effectively running their organizations within the purview of laid down laws and rules.

“It is against this background that Mr. President, in agreement with the SGF and Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), approved the design of this course for CEOs to update and reinforce their knowledge as well as sharpen their skills to enable them perform optimally in driving the agenda of government,” the ASCON boss said.

Among the CEOs in attendance are Mr. Buki Ponle, the Managing Director of NAN, Prof. Sunny Ododo, Director General of National Theatre. (NAN)

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