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Exam focus – Keypoint on Public administration (civil service, Public corporation, reasons, functions, sources  and problems)

The civil service: The civil service is a body or a department in the executive arm of government responsible for the execution of the policies and programmes of the government.

Characteristics or principle of the civil service

  1. Permanence
  2. Neutrality
  3. Anonymity
  4. Impartiality
  5. Expertize
  6. Merits

The structure of the civil service

  • The Administrative Class: Members of this class of civil service include: the Directors General or the Permanent Secretary or Principal secretaries, Deputy and Assistance Director General, etc.
  • The Executive Class: This class includes the Higher Executive, Senior Executive Officers, Executive Officers, etc.
  • The Professional or Technical or Specialist Class: This class of officers are recruited on the basis of their expert and professional knowledge and skill and are meant to handle technical or specialized work. They include Engineers, Accountants, and Surveyors etc.
  • The Clerical Class: This class of workers include: typists, office clerks, clerical assistance, etc.
  • Messengerial Or Auxiliary Class: Worker in this class include: messengers, drivers, mechanic, daily – rated workers, etc.

Functions of civil service and civil servants

  1. Policy formulation
  2. Policy execution
  3. Advice to the government
  4. Intermediary role
  5. Legislative function
  6. Budget preparation
  7. Law enforcement
  8. Contribute in the lawmaking process
  9. Provision of social amenities
  10. Provision of employment opportunities
  11. Enlightenment and education of the people
  12. Record and document keeping
  13. Assist ministers
  14. Routine function

Problems or difficulties of the civil service

  1. Political instability
  2. Political interference
  3. Tribalism
  4. Bribery and corruption
  5. Overstaffed
  6. Lack of qualified personnel
  7. Poor condition of service
  8. Waste of manpower and resources
  9. The unfriendliness of the civil servant
  10. Over-devotion of precedent
  11. Inadequate training facilities
  12. Red- tape or Bureaucracy
  13. Negative attitude to work

Control of the civil (public) service

  1. Legislative control
  2. The general order
  3. Pressure group
  4. Control by minister
  5. Press control
  6. Hierarchical control
  7. Judicial control
  8. Public service commission control
  9. Public Complaint Commission (Ombudsman) control

Public corporation: Public corporation is a business organization established, owned, managed and financed with tax payer’s money by the government of a country with the main motive of not making a profit but to render essential service to members of the public.
Features or attributes or characteristics of a public corporation

  1. Ownership and finance
  2. Renders essential services
  3. Is a legal entity
  4. Capital involvement
  5. Enjoyment of monopoly
  6. Ownership and management
  7. Restriction of services
  8. Renders essential service

Reasons for government ownership of a public corporation

  1. Capital involvement
  2. Prevention of exploitation
  3. To avoid duplication
  4. For security reasons
  5. To ensure a constant supply
  6. The nature of their services
  7. To avoid private monopoly
  8. For rapid economic development
  9. As an avenue for employment opportunities
  10. To avoid foreign control of the economy
  11. To raise the standard living of the people.

Problems encountered by a public corporation

  1. Frequent government or political interference.
  2. Favouritism in the appointment of officers.
  3. High embezzlement propensity of the officials.
  4. Lack of adequate personnel.
  5. Political victimization of officials.
  6. Irregular change of officials.
  7. Lacklustre attitude of the workers.

Control of public corporation

  1. Parliamentary control
  2. Financial control
  3. Judicial control
  4. Ministerial control
  5. Public control.

Difference between a public corporation and the civil service or government department or ministry

Managed by members of the board of directors.Managed by a minister advised by the directors general.
A chairman acts as the political head.A minister is a political head.
Employees are called public servant.Employees are called civil servant.
Workers are appointed or employed by the board of directors.Workers are employees by the public service commission.
The administrative head is the general manager.The administrative head is the director general.
Ministerial responsibility is limited.Ministerial responsibility is unlimited.
Can contract for loans.Cannot contract for loans.
Is expected to make profits.Is a non- profit making organization.
Provides social amenities.Perform administrative functions.
Does not pat its revenue into the consolidated fund.Pays its revenue into the consolidated funds.


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