Lagos State Government has disclosed that the massive investment in the human capacity development of its workforce is already attracting global attention as the State Public Service will be producing the first forensic dentist in the whole of West Africa soon.
Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle disclosed this during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing organised as part of activities to commemorate the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the JJT Park, Alausa, on Wednesday.
According to her, the state government decided to fully sponsor one of its staff from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to study Masters in Legal Medicine and Forensic Dentistry outside the country in order to bridge an identified gap in the State Public Service.
“Once the staff completes his course of study, he will be the first forensic dentist (new skill and area of specialization) in West Africa and this points to the massive investment in human capital development that the present administration is embarking on,” she said.
Ponnle stated that the Lagos State Government was committed to building a 21st workforce that would deliver the dividends of democracy to Lagosians across every area of human needs by directing its training and capacity development programmes to both generic and technical areas of competency.
She said that one of the notable achievements and innovations to training programmes under the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was the introduction of on-line learning programmes starting with Webinar series which had ensured that the capacity of the entire workforce were developed even during the period of state-wide lockdown order.
The Commissioner disclosed that within the past few months the Webinar initiative started, eleven different series had been held, 10 Generic and 1 job specific for teachers.
“There was also a Virtual Launch of the pilot of the Lagos State Learning Management System (LMS) with over 10,000 members of staff uploaded, giving access to over 500 training courses. The pilot Phase of Executive Coaching Program for Executive Council Members was also launched with 30% of cabinet members enrolled .
“The initiative was in partnership with International Coaching Federation accredited coaches whereby cabinet members are offered one on one coaching by accredited coaches sessions to support in developing their personal, professional and political aspirations,” she said.
The Launch of the Learning Management System and the various Webinar series, Ponnle said, were aimed at achieving a paradigm shift from learning being an event to being a continuous process thereby building a workforce that is equipped with relevant skills, knowledge and competencies to deliver the dividends of democracy to the teeming population of the State.
According to her, the Lagos State Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC) Magodo being the Training Centre established specifically for the training of government officials also keyed into the virtual training initiative as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown and suspension of physical training courses.
She stated that in line with the business continuity stance of the Ministry, PSSDC also continued to engage its participants and other stakeholders through the placement of learning slides on its website, adding that the Centre is also in the process of commencing its learning and development activities using alternative means.
The Commissioner also explained that the Lagos State Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC) Magodo in the last one year of this administration received tremendous support for capacity building in the State Public Service. Specifically, as at the end of March, 2020, PSSDC had designed and implemented a total of Forty-four (44) Learning and Development programmes for a total of Two Thousand One hundred and Sixty-four (2,164) staff of the Public Service.
In the area of payment of pensions, Ponnle informed that the state government had consistently distinguished itself as the leading State in the payment of contributory payment scheme, management, implementation, and administration in Nigeria, leading the field in full implementation of an increase in the Employers contribution from 7.5% to 10% and employees contribution from 7.5% to 8%.
In her words “the present administration since inception has continued to show great commitment to the welfare of its workforce, both in and out of office, hence, monthly pension contributions are promptly remitted into employees’ Retirement Savings Account while accrued pension right obligations are also being paid”.
According to the Commissioner, a total number of 4104 retirees had their accrued pension rights of N16,759,441,707.75 credited into their RSA between May 2019 to April 2020.
She said the government also approved the release of N13.75 billion to fund the redemption bond account and also increased the additional funding rate of account from 5% to 10% of total annual staff emoluments in order to fully clear the backlog of the arrears caused from the old defined benefit scheme era of pension management by the State.
Ponnle noted that the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) has commenced the issuance of pensioners ID cards to retirees and has made a proposal for retirees with ID cards to enjoy additional benefits which is currently in progress and will be unveiled in the course of the coming year.
The Commissioner, however, affirmed that the Ministry is committed to continuously developing initiatives that will ensure that the mandate of a 21st Century-compliant workforce is achieved.
She added: “We trained a total of 4,210 staff during the year in in class session, representing a 30% of the cumulative number trained in the previous 4 years apart from over 11,000 participants online. The Ministry also launched the Maiden Edition of SHIFT Talks, an interactive knowledge sharing platform for public servants aimed at harvesting the collective wisdom inherent with the Service, showcasing innovation by staff and networking to break down inter ministerial silos.
“Knowledge SHIFTer, Mrs. Tope George GL 15, a lawyer from the Ministry of Justice shared nuggets from a book she authored and Innovation SHIFTer and Seun Ogunmolu GL 08 who launched an App he developed were recognized by Mr. Governor for their excellent performance. It should be worthy of note that Mr. Ogunmolu was advanced to GL 10 as a result of his innovative drive ” the Commissioner added.