Strike balance between transparency, classified information, FG urges directors

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, has advised directors in government offices to strike a balance between transparency and safeguarding classified information.

Mr Akume gave the advice at a roundtable for Directors of Reforms Coordination and Service Improvement, organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms in Abuja.

He said that this was with a view to maintaining effective government functioning and upholding public trust.

Mr Akume, represented by a Director in the SGF’s Office, Wasa Francis, tasked the participants on honesty and integrity.

Acknowledging the importance of transparency in government operations, the SGF urged that the Freedom of Information Act should not override the Oath of Secrecy of the Public Service.

He said that directors were saddled with implementing reforms and managing stakeholder expectations.

The SGF reminded the directors of the complex nature of their roles in achieving the desired reforms in the country.

He urged the participants to reflect on the impact they could make in steering the nation towards a brighter future, highlighting the role of mentorship, effective communication and decision-making.

He said, “The need for a comprehensive report at the end of the meeting to guide policy coordination and service-wide improvements is critical.’’

He appealed to participants to shape their mindset and practice of civil servants by guiding them towards excellence, integrity, and adherence to established codes of conduct.

Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof Tunji Olaopa, in his goodwill message emphasised the importance of ethical conduct.

Mr Olaopa, represented by the Commissioner Osun/Oyo states of the FCSC, Gboyega Oyebade, reminded the participants of the danger of leaking official secrets to the populace.

Highlighting the significance of the Official Secrets Act and the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Olaopa advised the participants to follow standard operating procedures and maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information.

He said, “Discipline, integrity, and patriotism in fulfilling your duties are important. You all need to adhere to the national pledge and constitution and leaking official secrets is unacceptable and undermines national security. I urge you all to be faithful, loyal, and honest in your service delivery. Remember that your actions will impact negatively or positively and the reputation and integrity of the entire civil service.’’

He called for enlightenment and education within the civil service to prevent such breaches and uphold the values of the nation.

Earlier, the Director-General, BPSR, Dasuki Arabi, explained that the roundtable would better address some specific needs and challenges faced by Directors of Reform Coordination and Service Improvement in MDAs.

This, according to him, will ultimately contribute to more effective governance and public service delivery.

He stated, “BPSR remains steadfast in its commitment to pursuing effective governance structures and processes that meet the expectations of stakeholders and beneficiaries. Today’s roundtable should be a testament to our dedication to driving, embedding, and implementing reforms in the public sector administration and overall service delivery in Nigeria. This event is a collaborative effort that will empower and equip the directors with the necessary tools, knowledge, and strategies to excel in their roles. We should also recognise that in an ever-evolving landscape of governance, the challenges faced by MDAs are multifaceted and dynamic.’’

Mr Arabi further urged all Directors of Reform Coordination and Service Improvement to work together to ensure that Nigeria Civil Service attains the world class that Nigerians would be proud of.

The roundtable aims to explore effective operationalisation of pension administration, identify challenges and proffer strategies for reform.

It will also create opportunities for innovation, and ensure compliance and nationwide coverage.

The participants included stakeholders from the National Pension Commission, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Federal Ministry of Finance, National Judicial Council of Nigeria, among others.

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