KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION, BOSS MUSTAPHA, AT THE MAIDEN MEETING OF SOUTHWEST SECRETARIES TO THE STATE GOVERNMENTS FORUM HELD AT RADISSON BLUE HOTEL, GRA, IKEJA, LAGOS ON THURSDAY, 2ND DECEMBER, 2021
I am delighted to be part of this maiden meeting of the South West Secretaries to the State Governments Forum holding here in Lagos State.
- This meeting which aims at deepening the conversation on States’ Cabinet Affairs Offices reform is indeed very commendable. It is in line with the reform initiative facilitated by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in 2019 at the maiden meeting of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with Secretaries to State Governments and Heads of Cabinet Affairs Offices in the Federation held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja on 2nd May, 2019 with the theme “Repositioning the Cabinet Affairs Offices for Effective Service Delivery”.
- The objective of the meeting was to bring together Heads of Cabinet Affairs Offices in the Federation, with the aim of establishing working relationship and developing synergy in the discharge of their duties.
- One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the recognition of the need for all Cabinet Affairs Offices in the Federation to collaborate and develop a framework for synergy as they perform similar functions and responsibilities, and being faced with similar challenges, in order to improve service delivery.
- The maiden meeting of the SGF with States SSGs was followed with Regional Meetings in the six Geopolitical Zones of the Country from 4th – 5th July, 2019. The meeting for the South-West zone was held in Lagos on 4th July, 2019
- At the end of the Regional meetings, it was unanimously agreed that a Community of Practice (CoP) be established for Cabinet Affairs Offices (CAOs)) at the National and Sub-National Governments in Nigeria as they perform similar functions and responsibilities and to achieve institutional stability. The meetings of the CoP were to be organised quarterly on a rotational basis among the six geo-political zones in the Country and one to be hosted by the Federal. This is to build synergy, engender close discussions and collaboration among the CAOs. Let me at this point state that, this has not been possible largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic which set in during the first quarter of year 2020, and affected most of our planned engagements and other unforeseen circumstances.
- Let me however, appreciate the efforts of the South West Secretaries to State Governments and the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN Commission) for keeping the dream alive. I assure you that plans are being finalized for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to formally launch the National Community of Practice for the Cabinet Affairs Offices of the Federation in the first quarter of l02z. I implore you all to participate at the event once the date is confirmed.
- Your Excellency, Distinguished colleagues, as you are aware, the Cabinet Affairs Office (CAO) all over the world remains an indispensable tool for actualizing the policy objectives of government both at the Federal and State levels. It effectively manages the policymaking process to enable government take informed decisions required to address the numerous development challenges the Country has had to contend with over the years, as well as emerging national and global issues. The CAO is conventionally the front-line policy management organ of any Government and we must reposition it to meet that vision.
- In realization of the critical role of the Cabinet Affairs Office in the coordination of Government policies and programme, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) conducted an institutional appraisal in 2019. The appraisal provided us a better appreciation of the scope of the Office’s mandate and functions in order to be proactive and develop more innovative ways of delivering its mandate.
- The exercise revealed, among other things, the Office’s excessive focus on the administrative part of its mandate (note taking and circulation of Council documents) with little attention to core policy functions, especially policy coordination (among Federal MDAs and across sub-national entities) and tracking implementation of Federal Executive Council approved policies, programmes, and projects.
- A litmus test for the policy capability of the CAO came when the President in 2019 at the Presidential Retreat for Ministers’ Designate, Permanent Secretaries and Top Government Functionaries directed that my Office coordinate and report on the implementation of the Ministerial Mandates along the 9 Priorities Areas of the Administration.
- The retreat also provided update on the status of policies, programmes and projects of the Federal Government, with the intent to prepare incoming Cabinet members to assume their roles. It was also designed to map a trajectory towards the delivery of the Administration’s Priority Agenda for 2019 – 2023.
- One year after, the first Ministerial Performance Review Retreat was held on 7″ and 8th September 2020. The Retreat provided an Opportunity for the Government to assess its performance against the Ministerial Mandates signed by Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, and track the progress of Government’s commitment to deliver on the development aspirations captured in the 9 Priority Areas of the Federal Government.
- In the last two years, Ministers have continued to implement the deliverables assigned to them in line with the Ministerial Mandates which serve as a performance bond with Mr. President. The introduction of the Ministerial Mandates by the President, has indeed provided more clarity on the expectations of MDAs on delivering of Government priorities to achieve demonstrable results. Today, there are embedded systems for performance management and improved accountability and transparency for efficient service delivery to citizens.
- Your Excellency, Distinguished colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. let me add that, following Mr. President’s directive at the 2020 Ministerial Retreat, my Office, over the past year, has worked assiduously towards setting up delivery systems that will render support to Ministers and by extension, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to deliver on the expectations of Mr. President. We have set up a Central Delivery Coordination Unit (CDCU) in the OSGF with the state-of-the-art equipment and manned by Delivery Managers deployed by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) being the product of the Leadership Enhancement and Development Programme (LEAD-P). They are an elite corps of the civil service who have gone through rigorous top talent selection process and special training to meet specific needs of government. In addition, Ministries have designated 2 Desk Officers to serve as the frontline liaison with the OSGF-CDCU.
- In establishing the CDCU, we accommodated feedbacks from the First Year Retreat in framing a Performance Management System by developing a Unified Collaborative Results Framework to monitor all 9 priority areas. Furthermore, the framework incorporates all ministerial deliverables that have direct impact on specific priorities, arranged by drivers (Key Result Areas).
- With this development, rather than work in silos, focusing on the implementation of individual deliverables. the Results Framework provides an outline through which Ministries can collaborate to achieve the objectives of each priority area. I believe, the Delivery Unit initiative can be introduced at the State level to not only drive delivery of governments’ priority policies, programmes and projects but also entrench transparency and accountability in the system.
- The Federal Government has also put in place a Performance Management System (PMS) that serves as a tool for measurement of MDAs performance in the implementation of the Ministerial deliverables and the delivery of priority areas against targets. The PMS, which Mr President formally unveiled at the recently concluded Mid-Term Ministerial Retreat is fully functional with a dashboard set up in my Office, that of the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs and the Delivery Unit. I encourage State Governments to set up similar systems with dashboards in the Governors’ Offices to enable electronic data collection and real-time information on the status of implementation of projects, programmes and policies.
- Your Excellency, Distinguished colleagues, we have continued to build the delivery capacity of the CDCU Delivery Managers and Desk Officers from the MDAs. A capacity building programme commenced in February 2021, using a formal curriculum, to induct them on the objectives of the Delivery Unit and acquaint them with the assigned roles and functions.
- Bilateral meetings and high-level engagements were organized in May and June 2021 to sensitize leadership of all Federal Ministries including all Ministers and Permanent Secretaries on the new Results Framework and the Performance Management System.
- To further strengthen the capacity of the Civil Service and also entrench delivery culture within the public service, a training plan consisting of relevant modules was designed and implementation is ongoing in phases. We just concluded a training session two days ago in Lagos for our Delivery Managers and officials from select Ministries.
- As part of the directives of the President at the Mid-Term Retreat, the OSGF will be organizing quarterly coordination meetings with Ministers and Permanent Secretaries to review implementation of the Ministerial Mandates along the 9 Priority Areas. Efforts are being made to institutionalize the delivery system in the Public Service.
- All these achievements were made possible with the ardent support of our technical partners Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office- Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (FCDO-PERL), who have provided technical assistance to the OSGF since 2019, to embed performance systems and operationalization of the Delivery Unit.
- In conclusion. I invite you to watch a short video that further explains the evolution of the Central Delivery Coordination Unit as it functions as enabler for delivery. It incorporates Performance Management System which is designed to provide real-time information on the performance of line Ministries along the 9 Priority Areas of the Federal Government.
- Thank you for your kind attention.