The Public Service is poised to undergo sweeping reforms starting this fiscal year (2014/15), according to the Ministry for Public Service and Labour. The new financial year officially started on July 1.
The changes are aimed at improving government efficiency, accountability and keeping the growing wage bill in check.
The development follows a Public Institutions Performance Analysis and Performance Audit of Institutional Mergers carried out between June 2013 and February 2014.
The New Times understands that the exercise will result in laying off some public employees, especially in cases where there is duplication of roles and redundancy. Currently, there are about 94,000 civil servants.
The assessment covered all public institutions including parastatals and agencies that are constituted by entities that were previously independent organs prior to the merger.
The findings revealed gross shortcomings and gaps in current public institutions’ organisation, thus the need for an overhaul of public institutions.
A ministry document obtained by The New Times cites poor coordination among offices that are inter-linked, duplication of responsibilities – where two or more people perform similar duties – and bureaucracy, with some tenders experiencing unnecessary delays because of a chain of signatories and verifiers, among the shortcomings.
According to another source, it was discovered that there are employees who are underutilised, with little or no work assigned to them by their employers, which encourages them to take up side jobs or use public resources to pass time.
But it is understood that to ascertain the validity of the findings and ensure appropriateness of the proposed corrective actions, the Government recommended a further check by an expert eye that’s external to Government of Rwanda.
This was done by the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE), an arm of the Singaporean government for cooperation and exchange of experiences.
“The restructuring is in line with addressing major gaps noted within current organisational structures and provide public institutions with organisational structures to help them achieve their respective mandate,” the ministry document says.
It has also emerged that because of the restructuring process, some top level positions such as that of deputy director general may be scrapped in some institutions.
“As a result, government will reduce on its spending on salaries and benefits while increasing productivity,” a source privy to the planned reforms said.
Those that will be affected by the restructuring will have time to hand over office and receive their benefits as stipulated by law.
“The restructuring process will help increase “efficiency and effectiveness of institutions,” the document adds.
It also states that the restructuring is motivated by the need for integration in terms of mutual working relationships and span of control in terms of size of the coordinated area vis-a-vis realistic coordination capacity.
The Minister for Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, could not be reached for comment. His advisor Edmond Tubanambazi, however, confirmed that the reforms would kick off soon.
The reforms will also see Government decentralise further certain responsibilities in accordance to the national decentralisation policy, removing duplications and overlaps among ministries, implementing agencies and districts, according to the ministry.
“The restructuring will see a reduction of contractual staff by providing permanent staff with more responsibilities, as well as introducing flexible management to fit the specific operational environment.”
Reacting to the development, the workers trade union Cestrar said it had no problem with the restructuring as long as it is conducted in accordance with the law.
“The employer has a right even to lay off employees but that should be conducted in respect of the law,” said Gaspard Mupiganyi, the programme manager at Cestrar.
He added: “There are laws and mechanisms meant to protect civil servants and the benefits they should get when they are laid off, if all that is put in consideration, then we are fine with that.”
Meanwhile, the Government intends to spend Rwf207 billion on wages and salaries alone this financial year up from Rwf195.2 billion in the previous financial year.Follow https://twitter.com/EdwinMusoni