Labour ministry seeks more time for implementation of public servants bill

Christine Muhongayire, the Chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs, and Minister for Public Service and Labour Fanfan Rwanyindo, chat during the meeting yesterday. Photo: Craish Bahizi.

The Ministry of Public Service and Labour has requested for more time to work on the modalities of the implementation of the draft law governing public servants.

The ministry made the request on Monday, November 11, 2019, during a session in which the parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs was scrutinising the bill governing public servants.

The 2013 law establishing the general statutes for public service is currently under parliamentary review.

It spells out the working relationship between a public servant, as an employee, and the State.

Officials from the ministry said that once the bill is enacted into law, it will need over 10 ministerial orders to facilitate its implementation.

The ministry says it will be impossible to produce all those orders within two months after the publication of the law as required by the law.

The Prime Minister’s instructions issued in 2007 state that any entity that initiates a law, should do it as it prepares order(s) that will implement it and the latter shall be published in the official gazette two months after the law has taken effect.

However, the Prime Minister’s directive gave an exception that such timeframe can change when an order does not need to be immediately approved based on the purpose of the law.

The ministry stated that orders that were provided for by the 2013 law establishing the general statutes for public service and provided for by this bill continue to be in force for a period not exceeding two years from the date of gazetting the law.

However, MPs expressed concern that if the ministry is given two more years as it proposed in the draft law, it could lead to a long absence of law enforcement.

Thus the MPs want the ministry to be given one year.

“The Prime Minister’s instructions provide a principle, but also an exception. That is why we requested (for) two years,” said Fanfan Rwanyindo, the Minister for Public Service and Labour.

MP Christine Muhongayire, the Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, said that the ministry should be given sufficient time to carry out its responsibilities.

“If the ministry voices a concern that the two month-period will not be enough for it to have made the orders, then it needs more time to be able to accomplish the task,” she said.

Proposed changes in the bill

The draft law introduces, among other things, a new recruitment method – the direct recruitment – through which a person with exceptional skills can be attracted into public service as a permanent public servant.

A Presidential Order is proposed to determine modalities for the recruitment of public servants and how these methods of recruitment will be put in place.

This order may also provide for other methods of recruitment.

According to the current Ministerial Order determining modalities for recruiting contractual staff in public service, a person with rare and niche skills enters the public service as a contractual staff.

Currently, the Ministry of Public Service and Labour says, there are no proper strategies to attract and integrate persons with rare and niche skills as permanent public servants except for job positions of nomination.

The bill also proposes an amendment in the minimum age of employment in public service which is, up to now, 18.

However, it is proposed that a person aged at least 16 years may be employed in public service upon written authorization by the Minister in charge.

This change, the minister explained, is for the purpose of allowing persons with special skills at the age of 16 to be employed in public service.

Meanwhile, it said that an Order of the Minister determines prohibited works for a public servant aged 16 years but not yet 18 years old.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com