Characteristics of the Civil Service

Civil Service In Nigeria

Civil service, being a part of public service in Nigeria is a body of employees responsible for planning, giving advice and implementing policies in government ministries and departments.

These employees are called civil servants. Government ministries are headed by ministers at Federal level or commissioners at state level and assisted by directors-general (permanent secretaries), as well as other departmental heads.

Characteristics of the Civil Service

1. Permanency:

The civil service is a permanent government establishment and employees enjoy security of tenure. The civil service remains intact while government changes periodically.

2. Neutrality:

Civil servants are required to be politically neutral so that they can serve faithfully, any government in power, no matter the controlling party. The Law requires them to resign their appointment where they are interested in partisan politics.

3. Impartiality:

This implies that civil servants should discharge their official duties fairly to all the people they are serving, without religious, class, gender, ethnic or any other sectional biases.

4. Anonymity:

Civil servants may neither disclose government official secretarial nor speak to the press on government matters, except they are authorised by the minister supervising the ministry. They cannot be held responsible for their official actions. The minister and director-general are politically accountable for the success or failure of their ministry.

5. Expertise:

The civil service consists of highly qualified and professionally experienced experts in various fields. The formulation and implementation of government policies and programmes depend largely on these specialists, while political office holders may not themselves be specialists in the areas they supervise.

6. Bureaucracy:

The civil service is characterised by very strict adherence to established rules and regulations; this sometimes causes delays in the implementation of government policies and programmes.

7. Merit System:

Recruitment and promotion in the civil service is often based on merit. Only qualified and competent candidates are recruited by the civil service commission. Promotion is also carried out in accordance with the established rules and regulations.

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