THERE is growing anxiety among civil servants in Anambra State following the failure of the state government to appoint Permanent Secretaries to replace retired ones, resulting in only six Permanent Secretaries handling 23 Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
Investigation in the State Civil Service shows that some of the remaining Permanent Secretaries are overseeing four Ministries, while others are in charge of three each.
In the past two years, no fewer than 10 Permanent Secretaries had left the service and no replacement had been made, even when there are qualified directors to fill the vacant positions.
It was discovered that some of the directors have reached their bar in that category and have only few years to retire from the service.
On Wednesday , 24th August , 2022, following the directive of Governor Chukwuma Soludo, all the qualified directors for elevation to Permanent Secretaries were subjected to written Computer -based Test(CBT), and those who passed are yet to be appointed Permanent Secretaries.
One of the directors who scored above 70% in the CBT exam said: “It is 16 months since we attended this written interview. The results of CBTs are always ready at the back-end of the computer immediately the candidate submits his or her answers.
“My name is among the list of candidates recommended by the Head of Service to Mr Governor to be appointed as Permanent Secretaries in the state.
“It beats my imagination why it is taking Mr Governor this long to make these appointments”.
According to him, 273 candidates applied for the post Permanent Secretaries in the state, adding that over seventy of the number came from the private sector because the governor insisted on bringing in people from the private sector as Permanent Secretaries.
He added: “The Computer -Based Test was organized by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). Governor Charles Soludo was advised that appointment of Permanent Secretaries is strictly meant for career civil servants, but he insisted that candidates from the private sector should be part of the exercise .
“From the result/outcome of the CBT exams , civil servants performed creditably well, while the candidates from organized private sector failed woefully.
“Based on the outcome of the exam, Mr Governor has remained reluctant to appoint Permanent Secretaries in the State. Perhaps if the reverse had been the case , he would have made the appointment long ago.
“We have lost over a year’s salaries and other emoluments as it were, if these appointments were made .
“The situation in Anambra State civil service has become so precarious because the service has 23 Ministries , Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and each MDA is supposed to be manned by one Permanent Secretary.
“Presently the State has only six substantive Permanent Secretaries overseeing 23 MDAs. Some of these Permanent Secretaries are overseeing three MDAs, others four MDAs and this ugly practice is gradually grinding the service to a halt, which is very unhealthy for the system.”