The Federal Government has suspended the tenure policy in the Federal Civil Service with immediate effect.
The directive was contained in a circular to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), signed by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.
The circular said the suspension was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The tenure policy was introduced by the Umaru Yar’adua administration in 2009. Under the policy, permanent secretaries were to hold office for four years, renewable for another four years only, subject to satisfactory performance.
Directors were also expected to compulsorily retire after putting eight years, but without prejudice to the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of service.
The reform was triggered by what was described as stagnation, redundancy and noticeable loss of morale in the federal civil service, occasioned by a generation of officers who had been Permanent Secretaries and Directors for between 10 and 12 years but were not due for retirement in at least another five years.
A report by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) said the main achievements of the policy was the unlocking of a major bottleneck at the directorate cadre, leading to the creation of vacancies, and raising the morale of the majority of public servants.
“The bureaucratic corruption made possible by people being in the same post for an inordinately long period of time has been virtually eliminated,” the report said.
Many commentators then argued that the immediacy of its implementation led to disorderliness at the expense of talent and experience in the service as there were no clear criteria for assessing permanent secretaries, directors-general, and executive secretaries after the first four-year term of office.