Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) addressing the audience during the launching of the Service Charter for Lagos State organized by the Office of Transformation held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday, July 03, 2012.
WorldStage Newsonline-- Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola(SAN) on Tuesday formally launched the Service Charter for the State’s public service with a call for a transformation from the days of “action Governors” to an era of “action Governments” through functional institutions.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa venue of the launch organized by the Office of Transformation under the Governor’s Office added that Lagos has indeed been very lucky to be blessed from inception with good leaders who have been tagged as action governors but that this could be taken further to have “action government”.
“We can change the game today and move from an Action Governor to Action Government. An action Government that is built around institutions, an action government that is built around processes rather than around personalities. A Government where you do not have to know anybody before you get service”.
“If I can buy a bottle of Coke without having to call the Managing Director of Coca Cola, why should I need to call the Governor of Lagos State because I want to buy land?. It is because we have not built our government around institutions. And I think we are on our way from today”, Governor Fashola stated.
The Governor who also gave an insight into how the journey into fashioning out the Service Charter started said some three to four years ago, several questions agitated the minds of members of the State Executive Council which borders on why the public sector cannot perform better than the private sector.
“Why are public schools not better than private schools?, why are public hospitals not better than private hospitals. Why are our offices not better than offices in the banks? Incidentally we get the biggest shares of the revenues anyway than any individual company could get. That was where we started from”.
He said government was also concerned about why someone should come to a public service office in pursuit of service and there is nobody at the front office to say “how are you sir or how may I help you” and also not have somebody in the front office to attend to him.
He reiterated that in a functional setting a person should not have to look for his file or have to repeat visits to the office 20 times if he needs to come only once to sign a document, adding that by responding promptly, the service providers are not only helping him to save some money which would have been expended on fuel, they are also saving him the stress.
Noting that the responsibility of being responsive comes with the privilege of being chosen to serve from a population of over 18 million people, Governor Fashola said the quality of service would affect all including the service provider.
“That is the responsibility that we have in the public service and that is the responsibility that comes with the privilege to be among the very few who take decisions on behalf of 18 million people including ourselves”.
“For me it is a momentous privilege and it should be for you to be able to make the water that we will drink, to be able to make the road that I will drive on, to be able to build the hospitals that will look after me in my old age. 18 million people could have had that opportunity but only a few 100,000 of us who have that opportunity to be in the public service and that is why this day is important for us to chart a new course in service delivery and governance”, the Governor explained.
The Governor stated that the process which has been on for about three years was planned cautiously and reviewed meticulously, giving an assurance that this is one transformation exercise that will succeed.
He noted that in the last few years, even the attitude to budget has changed because the Government now holds budget quarterly meetings to nip problems in the bud, to examine how well the plan is working in the first quarter, to adjust in the second quarter, to see where revenues are failing in one quarter, to give help and channel resources to that department and to see where implementation is failing.
The Governor said this is the reason why Lagos is the only state that has recorded no less than a 70percent budget performance in the whole country, adding however that the administration won’t rest on its oars. “But 70 percent is not good enough. I hope that through this initiative, we can push ourselves to higher limits”.
He said to those who may not be aware, government business must be seen as a business that generates profits, adding that the profit generated by government business is the prosperity of her people, the people for whom that government is responsible.
“When you see happier people, when you see people who live longer, when you see people who have much knowledge and information, people who are rising out of poverty, that government is making profit and very prosperous and that is the kind of government we want to be”, he added.
The Governor gave a reassurance that the unveiling of the Service Charter is not just about making a commitment, but that government is working through its commitment by holding itself up that it would respond and provide a platform for citizen participation.
“This is not a destination. It is a journey. We have started it several years back, we are at a critical bend now but our road still lies ahead. The many milestones in this journey are the Town Hall meetings, Community Health Care projects as well as the 100 Days reporting which is part of the journey for making government responsive”.
The Governor revealed that as part of the gains of the 100 Days reporting, a particular area which the State Government had planned to site its Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMs) but which became a subject of litigation was resolved through the elders of the community who heard about the issue when he spoke about it at one of the 100 Days reporting.
Governor Fashola who also spoke on the establishment of the Traffic Radio in the State said the station gives opportunity for the residents to have advance information to plan their movements and routes in the comfort of their homes.
He said the chosen agencies which are the pilot agencies are the most impactful in terms of service provision to the people to see how the implementation process is going on, adding that government would want to the hospitals to move from treating patients to caring.
“We want to be sure that our educational policies implemented through our schools will provide the next generation of people that will stand on this podium and address Lagosians. We want to be sure that in the next few weeks and few months, the story about acquiring land or getting building permits will change for the better”.
“Indeed nothing could be more beneficial for us. The more buildings you see, the more jobs this economy will have because every project will have an architect, an engineer, a builder, your neighbor selling cement will supply cement, your brother doing quarry business will supply gravel. You neighbour who is making food-mama put will supply the site and then we will begin to reduce the impact of unemployment and poverty”, Governor Fashola said.
Speaking earlier, the Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe who spoke through the Acting Head of Service, Mrs Oluseyi Williams said the launch of the Service Charter is another first by Lagos State which has often blazed the trail in good governance.
He said with the launch of the Service Charter the government is telling the people that it is here to serve them and also ready to be held accountable, adding that in the course of asking for that service, the people can complain if they do not get the service they deserve.
The Head of Service explained that what was being launched at the event represents the pilot as the Service Charter is a programme that will cover all the ministries and agencies, charging the members of the service to embrace the programme and give it their best shots.
In his welcome address, the Director- General of the Office of Transformation, Mr Toba Otusanya said the introduction of the Service Charter in the state’s public service is a bold step to demystify the various processes involved in accessing service windows offered by government agencies.
He added that this initiative is unique in the sense that it is operated within the framework of series of service pledges made by Ministries Departments and Agencies to their customers, stating clearly the service delivery level they should expect from them as a matter of right, saying it is essentially targeted at the perceived inadequate service delivery of the public service.
The Governor later formally launched the Service Charter and also recognized the Charter Champions who are service delivery unit officers from the pilot 14 Ministries and Agencies charged with seeing to the implementation of the Charters of their various MDAS.
The event was attended by some members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, Special Adviser on Health, Dr (Mrs) Yewande Adeshina and members of the Body of Permanent Secretaries among other top government officials and public servants.