As part of steps to ensure stability in the nation’s civil service, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday suspended the eight year tenure policy for Permanent Secretaries and directors in the Federal Civil Service with immediate effect.

The directive was contained in a circular to all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita.

A statement by the Director Communication, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Haruna R. Imrana, said all MDAs should give effect to the new directive.

The statement said: “The Circular which conveyed the President’s directive on the suspension said the suspension is with immediate effect and all concerned are to comply accordingly.”

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “This is a landmark civil service reform by President Muhammadu Buhari because it will stabilize the system. The previous policy had led to the loss of good and resourceful hands in the civil service.

“Also, by implications, civil servants will now feel free to retire mandatorily at either 60 years of age or 35 years in service.

“The craze for corruption in the civil service by tenured public officers will reduce. There will be a sense of security for civil servants with the suspension of the eight-year policy.”

The Federal Government had on August 26, 2009 through circular HCSF/O61/S.1/III/68 introduced the tenure policy for directors and Permanent Secretaries.

The circular was signed by a former Head of the Civil service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye.

Titled “Tenure of Office for Permanent Secretaries and Directors,” said the eight-year tenure for Permanent Secretaries and directors was  without prejudice to the mandatory 60 years of age or 35 years in service for retirement.

The circular had read: “As part of the continuing reforms in the Federal Civil Service, Government has found it necessary to develop a policy that will renew and reinvigorate the service, restore morale of officers and unlock the creative potentials of hard-working officers.

“Accordingly, Government has approved that permanent secretaries shall hold office for a term of four years, renewable for a further term of four years, subject to satisfactory performance, and no more.

“In the case of directors, they shall compulsorily retire upon serving eight years on the post. This approval is without prejudice to the relevant provisions of the public service rules which prescribe 60 years of age and/or 35 years of service for mandatory retirement.

“Consequently, all serving permanent secretaries and directors who would have spent eight years on post by 1st January 2010, the effective date of this provision, are hereby notified for the purpose of commencing their pre-retirement activities, when due.”

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