The lackadaisical tendencies of civil servants so often talked about have galled no less a person that President Ernest Bai Koroma. As By Abibatu Kamara reports, the president plans to deal with the situation head-on.
Delivering his key note address and launching of the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) at the Miatta Conference hall yesterday, President Koroma said he had noticed “with grave concern that civil servants continue to display signs of lethargy in discharging their duties.”
He said while a good number of them “do not observe the official hours, others are engaged in activities that do not add value to what they have been employed to do”.
The president emphasized that all civil servants must sign a roster on arrival to and departure from office. He said the HRMO would serve as the cornerstone for a great and productive civil service and would reduce the disparity in both the productive capacity and the remuneration of civil servants and their colleagues in the rest of the public service.
President Koroma said as the country was undergoing these transformations in the civil service, government was aware of the constraints facing civil servants, particularly those relating to motivation.
Government has therefore provided funds to the Establishment Secretary to verify authentic workers, clean payroll and manage wage bill. It would also revise and develop new processes of recruitment, retention, motivation and progression within the civil service which will attract competent Sierra Leoneans to the Civil Service.
He said the HRMO had been especially designed based on modern best practices, adding that it would begin with the introduction of new procedures and schemes that reflected the country’s visions for a Civil Service that is capacitated, efficient, effective and people focused.
The Establishment Secretary, Dr Julius Sandy said when he addressed stakeholder in April this year there were 70,597 public servants on the payroll, with a monthly wage bill of more than Le 18 billion. 16,654 or about a quarter of the public service workforce were civil servants.
Today, he went on, ”the total Public Sector work force has increased to 72,412 with a corresponding increase in the monthly wage bill to over Le 21 billion.
Dr Sandy said that in the last three months they had been able to reduce the civil service wage bill by 4% representing a monthly wage bill saving of Le 186, 891,863. This has happened through the retirement of civil servants and measures that reconcile difference in various grading pay structures,
He however warned that the increase in the overall number of Public Servants was due to increase in teacher enrolment since April which he said had increased by 2%
On right sizing the civil service, the establishment secretary said that from 6th August he had retired 1,009 civil servants, assuring that contrary to some speculations, this had not been a political decision as all the retirees had already celebrated their 60th birthday.