By Kate Obande-Okewu,
Mr Michael Akubo is a graduate of economics from a higher institution who missed a job opportunity due to bureaucratic processes involved in obtaining his original certificate from the school for presentation.
Akubo says he cannot understand why his certificate will be delayed to affect job opportunities and even further studies.
This is a typical example of service delivery failure not only in higher institutions but in public places that Service Compact (SERVICOM) seeks to address.
Observers note that before now, poor service delivery has been prevalent in public service sector where customers complain they do not get satisfaction for services required.
But how far has SERVICOM been able to tackle the challenge as an organisation established to promote effective service delivery in Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs)?
Although Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli, National Coordinator SERVICOM, insists that the challenge of service delivery in the public sector is less, critics doubt her claim.
Mr Folasayo Sunday, a public commentator, said SERVICOM ought to have addressed issues such as delay in releasing certificates in higher institutions and lower colleges, among others.
However, Akajemeli said the organisation had carried out series of performance evaluation in various MDAs, including universities, where it analysed the level of their compliance to delivering efficient service that she rated high.
“Many nodal officers have been trained across the country on how to improve service delivery, using those training platforms to educate members of staff on the importance of effective service delivery.
“Government is streamlining all service delivery processes to capture customers’ experiences with the aim of harvesting complaints and turning them around to improve on the delivery processes to satisfy service takers,’’ she said.
She said she had compelled tertiary institutions to issue the graduates their certificates without delay and that the Ministerial SERVICOM Committee of all universities had been working in that regard.
She commended University of Nigeria, Nsukka and University of Abuja for complying with global best practices in issuing certificates without delay.
Akajemeli also said that SERVICOM had been collaborating with the Nigeria Educational Research Development Council to ensure the inclusion of SERVICOM in the school curriculum from primary to undergraduate level.
“We want to do this very quickly so that students can get acquainted with the operations of SERVICOM and how to demand good service from service providers as well as report service failures,’’ she said.
She expressed concern on SERVICOM Compliance Evaluation reports on some study centres of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
According to her, challenges in most study NOUN centres in the country should be addressed as a matter of urgency for efficient service delivery in our educational system.
“Most of the study centres have high record of missing results; it was learnt at the evaluation that centres couldn’t resolve the issue.
“This process is cumbersome and tiring as some students are forced to travel to headquarters to seek resolution,’’ she observed.
Akajemeli, therefore, recommended that scripts should be marked at the zonal headquarters to reduce the incidence of missing scripts and results.
She urged schools that had not established SERVICOM units to do so for effective monitoring of their services.
She also commended some universities for providing efficient libraries, making students and workers to wear identity cards and providing incentives for hardworking staff, among others.
Irrespective of cynics’ view of SERVICOM’s performance, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of NUC, commended the organisation.
“It is maturity to take criticism and unpalatable observations, take it in good faith and continue to rebrand till you attain excellence.
“For sustainable development to be achieved, we must keep examining our processes and policies in the country,’’ he said.
For efficient service delivery, SERVICOM says it creates www.servicom.gov.ng to serve as a rich resource-base for useful information, data and research for the public.
According to the organisation, the purpose of the platform is to promote customer-focused service delivery and service improvement plans in MDAs for useful feedbacks from the public.
It insists that service delivery is what defines service providers and grows businesses, underscoring the importance of SERVICOM that is established to save and aid government businesses.