Optimising Nigeria’s Public Service Post-COVID in an era of Rising Unemployment

Author: PERL

This note attempts to review options for Nigeria to consider in the COVID era to improve outcomes from a large public service that consumes almost a third of the total budget of the Federal Government. With double constraints of being viewed as the “employer of last resort”, in a fast impoverishing economy, while bounded by an upper limit of state revenues, ironically compounded by the productivity of the same under-productive workforce, the country’s public service risks a vicious cycle of under-productivity and “poor-quality in, poor-quality-out”. On the other hand, sub-optimal decisions on public service manpower in the short-term would in the medium-term jeopardise the quality of policies and regulation to create an enabling environment for private-sector led. Based on policy options and learning points from Nigeria’s previous reforms and other countries’ experiences, some options are presented to assist policy makers in reviewing immediate alternatives for optimising one of Africa’s largest public sector workforce.