The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has adopted new measures aimed at ensuring high standards in its service delivery to communities in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Acting Managing Director, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, outlined the new strategy when officials of the SERVICOM office, led by the Acting National Coordinator, Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli, paid her a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
She said that the NDDC was working with the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, to produce a standardisation manual which would enhance service-delivery to the people of the region.
Mrs Semenitari said that the standardisation manual would be binding on all its engineers when it becomes operational. She declared: “If jobs don’t meet the NDDC standard, all the engineers who certified the jobs will not only face professional sanctions, but will face administrative disciplinary measures. In some instances, they might even face criminal charges.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the Commission recognised the critical need for effective service delivery, which was why it had forwarded a memorandum to Mr President, requesting the upgrading of SERVICOM in NDDC to a full directorate.
She said: “We feel that the SERVICOM directorate is the policeman of the organization, the one that should insist on the right standards. It is this directorate that we believe will drive the efficiency of the NDDC and we hope it will make everyone accountable from the managing director to the least staff.”
“It is important that we strengthen the directorate to be able to carry out the SERVICOM functions. One of the things we are trying to do to improve standard is to ensure that our reporting is transparent. And to that end, we have, in compliance with the law setting up the commission, produced our first quarter report. We intend to upload the report on the commission’s website soon. We will put it up so that people will know what we are doing, and demand greater service.”
The Acting National Coordinator of SERVICOM, Mrs Akajemeli, remarked that delivering public service had been a challenging task to successive governments, especially those in developing economies.
She said that it was common to find citizens decrying the deplorable state of public utilities, amenities and services that had been allowed to degenerate into a state of comma. According to her, most of the public service facilities were often privatized, thus making their affordability out of the reach of the common citizens.
Mrs Akajemeli, stated that progressive-minded public administrators had come to understand that the challenge of service was to ensure that institutions remained accountable to the people, including the poorest and most vulnerable. “Accountability is a key ingredient of good governance in that it ensures that governments are answerable to their people for the way they run the country. This is the true test of public service delivery,” she said.
She said that the country’s public service was being radically revolutionized and repositioned to enhance the quality of services rendered to the public through the office of SERVICOM, adding that the efforts had been borne with the understanding that public service delivery had basic principles which included consultation, service standards, courtesy, information, responsiveness and value for money.
Mrs Akajemeli noted that the public sector should regularly and systematically consult the users and consumers of their services, as well as explain the quality of service they would receive. She said: “Users and consumers of public services should expect full, accurate information about the services they are entitled to receive. Where customers have little or no choice about the services they receive, information is one of the most powerful tools -sometimes the only too - that they have to enable them demand their rights to good service.”
The SERVICOM coordinator further stated that consumers of public services should be treated with courtesy and consideration stressing that when the promised standard of service was not delivered, apology should be offered and full explanation given.