EDITORIAL: Welfare of civil servants should be way up on the agenda

One of the most common complaints regarding access to finance has been the red tape, stringent conditions, and prohibitive interest rates charged by commercial banks.

For government workers in the past, the need to make ends meet meant that most were always on the lookout for juicier green pastures which made retaining them a constant headache.

But over the years, the Government has come up with novel strategies to retain them such as the cost-sharing transportation facilities and better working conditions.

Just recently, in a bid to retain skilled teachers in both primary and secondary schools, the Government decided to waive the repayment of student loans for those who will remain in service for a certain length of time.

The Ministry of Health seems to be reading from the same script and has come up with a strategy to kill several birds with one stone.  It has set up a Health Sector Staff Mutual Aid Group fund for its workers which will help them access quick funding at a very low interest rate – just three percent.

Figure in the fact that normal commercial bank interest rates hover around 20 percent, it is quite an incentive to retain workers as only those on the ministry’ payroll will be eligible.

In just less than a year, the Fund has grown to over a billion francs and benefitted over 300 medical personnel, far exceeding initial expectations.

 Both the ministries of Education and Health’s initiatives should be emulated by other government services in order to retain qualified staff while at the same time taking into consideration their welfare. That is the way to go.