The process to lay off hundreds civil servants is at its peak in a move the government says will see a complete overhaul of public institution jobs, merging some, changing others in terms of level and profile and scrapping others.
As a result, 483 district staff jobs across the country have so far been rendered redundant. At sector level, up to 416 public servants were sacked across the country after each office was ordered to retain only 14 members of staff.
About 12 government agencies saw similar changes, while others like the Workforce Development Authority were scrapped entirely.
In a letter shared with all government institutions, the Minister of Public Service and Labour; Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa said that the restructuring process will be determined by the performance contract evaluation score of two years (2017/2018 and 2018/2019) and whether one fits the required job profile.
This, she said, is aimed at increasing efficiency and improving service delivery in the public sector.
A public servant whose job position has not changed remains in his or her job position if he or she has an average score of at least 70 percent in the performance contract evaluation.
Rwanyindo explains that for the job position which was previously held by more than one public servant, a public servant with the highest performance contract evaluation score remains on the job position.
However, if two or more public servants have the same score, the one who has more experience in that position is given preference. If both have the same experience, the one who has more training is preferred.
“In case both have the same training, the one with the higher academic qualification is preferred. In case both have the same qualifications, preference is given to the less represented gender. If the institution is equally represented in terms of gender, a person with disability among them is given preference,” Rwanyindo says.
In case a job position is to be shared by two or more public institutions, the public servants in these positions will be required to have scored above 70 percent on their performance contract to sit oral tests overseen by a joint oral test panel of at least three members consisting of heads of sector institutions or their delegates. The panel may include an external expert to be part where necessary. This panel will be appointed by the line minister.
Suspension of contract
A public servant whose pass mark is below 70 percent or whose job position has been removed, changed in terms of job level, job profile or renamed is provisionally suspended from public service. He or she is entitled to two thirds of his or her salary within a period of six months and thereafter he or she is entitled to terminal benefits as provided for by the General Statute governing public servants.
Competence given priority
Rwanyindo advised that job profiles are given priority based more on competence than merely degrees if professionalization of public service is to be achieved.
“In that context all the degree levels including A1, Advanced Diploma and recognized Professional Certificates remain valid in terms of job requirements. Job profiles will also have to accommodate appropriate and applicable candidates with proven skills and competences in lieu of academic degrees (e.g. technical areas),” she said.
Opportunity to appeal
A public servant who is unsatisfied with the outcome of the placement process, may appeal in the first instance to the head of a public institution. In case he or she is not satisfied by the decision taken on his or her appeal they can appeal to the National Public Service Commission in accordance with the time line set by relevant laws.
Workers’ union weighs in
The General Secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Rwanda (CESTRAR), African Biraboneye called for transparency, integrity and professionalism in the restructuring process.
CESTRAR is an affiliation of 17 workers’ unions, and a membership currently 185,700 from different sectors of work.
He acknowledged that the process could lead to a loss of jobs but implored the government not to abandon those who have to adjust to the life of unemployment.
“We encourage the government to establish a reskilling plan such as setting up and running small businesses and to facilitate access to loans with little interests,” he said.
Not first time
This is not the first time the government has embarked on a big scale overhaul of its public service.
In 2014/2015, as a result of a Public Institutions Performance Analysis and Performance Audit, the Government cut jobs to reduce on poor coordination among offices that are inter-linked, duplication of responsibilities – where two or more people perform similar duties – and bureaucracy.Follow https://twitter.com/Africannash