Lagos to produce first Forensic Dentist in West Africa

The Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle says the State Public Service will be producing the first forensic Dentist in the whole of West Africa soon.

Ajibola gave this indication during the Year 2020 Ministerial press briefing organised as part of activities to commemorate the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

She explained that the massive investment of the State Government in the human capacity development of its workforce is already attracting global attention at the moment.

The Commissioner mentioned that the State Government decided to foot the bill of sponsoring one of its staff from the Lagos State Teaching Hospital LASUTH, to study a Masters in Legal Medicine and Forensic Dentistry outside the country in order to bridge an identified gap in the State Public Service.

According to her, “Once the staff completes his course of study, he will be the first forensic dentist in West Africa and this points to the massive investment in human capital development that the present administration is embarking on”.

21st century workforce

Ponnle stated that the Lagos State Government is committed to building a 21st century workforce that will deliver the dividends of democracy to residents across by directing its training and capacity development programmes to both generic and technical areas of competency.

“One of the notable achievements and innovations to training programmes under the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the introduction of on-line learning programmes starting with webinar series ensured that the capacity of the entire workforce were developed even during the period of state-wide lockdown order.

 “Within the past few months the Webinar initiative started, eleven different series has 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. Cabinet members are offered one on one coaching sessions to provide support in developing their personal, professional and political aspirations” she said.

Online skills

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.

Other initiatives that the present administration is using to boost the morale of its workforce include; organization of In-Plant /TailorMade Workshops/Seminars, sponsorship of officers for Local and Overseas training, approvals for Study Leave among other.

Ponnle also stressed that a total of 4210 staff were trained during the year in class session, representing a 30% increase over the average number trained in the previous four years and over 11,000 participants online.

Worker’s welfare

Ponnle emphasized that in ensuring a safe, conflict-free and productive workplace by providing strategic and expert advice on industrial relations, the Ministry played an important role in the successful negotiation for the new minimum wage and consequential adjustments for the State work force which commenced in November, 2019.

She also emphasised that three months arrears, as agreed had already been paid between February and April 2020 despite the work from home order for the majority of the workforce during the period.

According to the Commissioner “the Lagos State Government is the only State Government that is paying more than the Federal recommended Minimum Wage, this shows the magnanimity of Governor Sanwo-Olu in ensuring that the ‘take-home’ of staff truly takes them home.

“And 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”.

Pension scheme

She said that the State Government under the leadership of Mr. Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has 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%.

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. The government also approved the release of N13.75bln 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.

Source:  Voice of Nigeria