Civic Education

Public Service

Meaning of Public Service and Examples

public service is a service which is provided by government to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus (usually expressed through democratic elections) that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income. Even where public services are neither publicly provided nor publicly financed, for social and political reasons they are usually subject to regulation going beyond that applying to most economic sectors. Public service is also a course that can be studied at a college and/or university. Examples of public services are the fire brigade.

Public 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. The workers of public service are referred to civil servants; they perform administrative function which entails formulation and implementation of government policies.

Public service can also be referred to public (Corporation) service and defined as a business organization established, owned, managed and financed by the government with tax payers money with the aim of rendering important services to the members of the public and not to make profit.

Public Service in Nigeria include: Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigerian Export – Import Bank (NEXIM Bank), Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), National Examination Council (NECO), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)

Characteristics of Public Service

  1. State Ownership:

The enterprise ownership has to be vested with the State. It could be in the nature of Central, State or local government ownership or any instrumentality of the state too can have the ownership of public enterprise.

  1. State Control:

Public Enterprise is controlled by the Government both in its management and functioning. The Government has the direct responsibility to manage the affairs of the enterprise through various devices and exercises control over it by means of a number of agencies and techniques.

  1. Public Accountability:

Public Enterprises owe accountability to people as they are funded through public money. This accountability is realised through legislature and its committees, ministers, audit institutions and other specialised agencies.

  1. Autonomy:

Public Enterprises function with utmost autonomy under given situations. They are free from day to day interference in their affairs and management.

  1. Coverage:

The public enterprise traverses all areas and activities. There is hardly any field of activity, which is not covered by the operations of public enterprises.

Importance of Public Service

  1. Employment: – public sector provides employment to large number of people in the country. For instance, the Nigeria Railways COrporation provide employment to many people.
  2. Rural Development: – public sector units facilitate rural development. This is possible due to:
  3. Infrastructure development, both economic and social infrastructure
    ii.  Locating Projects in rural areas.
  4. National Income: – public sector units contribute to the national income of the country. The public sector has grown in size over the years both in terms of number of units as well as in production.
  5. Capital formation: -The public sector contributes to capital formation by mobilisation of savings through public sector banks. The Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry etc., play an important role in industrial investment and capital formation by providing medium terms and long-term funds to industry and service sector.
  6. Foreign Exchange Earnings: -The public sector enterprises have contributed to the export earnings of the country. The public sector units export a number of products like engineering goods, chemicals, minerals, metals, etc. they also export services.
  7. Social Order: -The public sector units contribute to the social order b y providing employment to a large number of people in the country. The employment generation reduces the possibility of anti-social activities.
  8. Government Revenue: -PSUs bring revenue to the Government. The revenue is in the form of:
    a.       Direct Taxes
    b.      Indirect Taxes
    c.       Profits of PSUs
  9. Infrastructure Development: -Public sector units play an important role in the development of the infrastructure of the nations. The public sector has developed roadways, railways, airways, power, and so on.

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