Public Corporations are government establishment or enterprises set up by an Act of Parliament to provide essential services for the state. Civil Service on the other hand is a body or department which has the duty of assisting the executive in the planning and implementation of government policies.
Differences Between Public Corporations and the Civil Service
There are certain differences between the civil service and public corporations in terms of structure, functions, finance, staffing and performance measures.
The civil service is otherwise known as the general government or government ministries. It provides services such as security, justice, education and roads usually free of charge for public consumption. On the other hand, a public corporation is established by law to provide certain essential services for sale to the public e.g water or electricity.
The minister is the political headof a government ministry (civil service) and he is accountable to the government and the legislature for all the activities of the ministry. The chairman of the Board of a corporation is the political head of public corporation. The board is responsible to the government through the minister in charge of that particular corporation. It should be noted, however, that both the minister and board chairman are political appointees, and often from the same ruling parties.
In the civil service, the minister is assisted by the permanent secretary who is the chief administrative officer of the ministry. He handles the day to day administration of the ministry on behalf of the minister. The Managing Director / Director Generalis the chief executive of a public corporation and he is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the corporation on behalf of the board.
The ministry has both line and staff departments. The line deals with the central objective of the ministry (e.g. formal education in a ministry of education is a line department) while the staff is concerned with personnel, public relations, accounts, store, and supply. On the other hand, a public corporation is divided into management and non-management classes.
Senior civil servants, with the notable exception of permanent secretaries and directors Who head departments are appointed, promoted and disciplined by the Federal Civil Service Commission. In public corporations, senior management staff except the Director General are appointed, promoted and disciplined by the board. In both cases, junior staff matters are handled by the management.
The civil service is wholly funded by the government through annual appropriation approved by the legislature. While the two major sources of income for public corporations are government subventions and internally generated revenue.
The civil service provides service without the objective of making profits but public corporations are required to break even.
The people who work in the civil service are known as civil servants. Workers in public corporations are public servants.
A public corporation is an organization established by an Act of parliament to provide a specific essential service for the public. The law establishing the corporations may charge it with the provision of water electricity, transportation or waste disposal.
Unlike the civil service whose services are normally free, public corporations are required to charge for the services they provide to the public so as to cover their running expenses. The fees charged are usually below the market price of the service.
Gantt and Dutto defined public corporation as “”.
The civil service is the array of administrative and professional staff employed, on permanent and pensionable basis to established posts, by the state, to advise on and execute its policies. Here we refer to the Permanent Secretaries, and the chain of subordinate officers ranging from Directors on Grade Level 17 to the office cleaner on Grade Level 01.
Civil servants should be distinguished from politicians. While civil servants are appointed by the government and have security of tenure, politicians are usually elected (although a few are appointed to political offices) and hold office for a specifled period of time.