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Project Case Study

Assessing Nigeria’s payroll control and personnel management systems in its civil service

Contributing to the country's wider Civil Service Reform Programme

Since the end of military rule in 1999 successive governments of Nigeria have made a common push for public sector reforms, as they felt they did not have the effective government machinery to compete on the world stage and as a means of combatting inefficiency.

In support of Nigeria’s comprehensive Public Sector Reform Programme, we were asked in 2003 by the World Bank to assess the current state of the payroll control, personnel and performance management systems in the civil service, a central focus of the reform programme.

Project info

Nigeria Payroll and Personnel Controls Project



  • World Bank

We were tasked with identifying the weaknesses of the current systems, many of which are still based on outdated colonial models. With this information, we developed recommendations for their modernisation, including the real and potential costs associated with transformation. We conducted an assessment of the existing personnel and payroll control systems across the federal civil service and analysed current efforts to tackle common problems, such as corruption, inefficiency and nepotism. This led to the development of a tailored reform strategy for the civil service’s continued modernisation.

We also conducted a review of the performance management system at all levels, from ministerial to departmental and individual. Working closely with our colleagues in the civil service we developed a meaningful and effective staff training programme to help professionalise the civil service and tackle some of the challenges associated with a weak incentive structure.

At the conclusion of the project, we were able to provide a detailed, time-bound and costed action plan on how payroll systems could be made more effective, highlighting the changes to legislation required to allow for these reforms. With our help, the Nigerian civil service was able to build into its institutional framework strong management systems relating to personnel record, payroll and position control, making its civil service more efficient and more productive.

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