Broke govt to hire 600
MBABANE– Government is in the process of filling over 600 vacancies within the civil service.
Faced with an unsustainable wage bill which accounts for 50 per cent of the total recurrent expenditure, government has set aside about E86.4 million for this exercise.
This amount is for the current financial year alone.
Government set aside over E61 million to fill posts across the portfolios.
A further E24.8 million was set aside for new posts for primary and secondary teachers, which were created for the Ministry of Education in line with the Free Primary Education programme.
The posts were approved by Cabinet on May 29, 2012 following a request filed by the Ministry of Public Service.
The other new posts in the ministries were not catered for in the natonal budget presented by Majozi Sithole early this year year.
Ministries and departments that have vacant posts include the Prime Minister’s office (nine posts), Deputy Prime Minister’s office (nine posts), the Ministry of Education (25), Accountant General (27) and the ministry of Home Affairs (63) among others.
High ranking posts include; Undersecretary (six), Auditor General, Accountant General, Commissioner of Labour, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Assistant Director (MSD), Chief Immigrations Officer, the Registrar General, Senior Engineer and Senior Economist among others.
In the low ranks, government seeks to hire, secretaries, groundsmen, security guards, messengers and drivers.
Government also wants to hire 130 constables and 150 warders.
Cabinet said money was available to pay salaries for the 600 public servants who will either be hired or promoted.
The vacancies were declared at a time when government struggled to implement the Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap (FAR), a strategy aimed at reducing the government wage bill by at least E240 million per annum.
It currently stands at about E4.2 billion per year.
The declaration of the posts defies the dictates of FAR where government said the 2011/12 budget incorporated a freeze in wage increase, hiring and the stoppage of notch increases (promotions).
Evart Madlopha, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service said government found it necessary to fill in the posts for the smooth running of government machinery.
He said the posts were not really new because they only came about following the death, resignations and promotions of some civil servants.
At E14 million, the police force will consume most of the budget for the posts where 170 positions were approved by Cabinet.
The Ministry of Education will spend around E5.7 million to officers for the ministry. This figure excludes the E24.8 million that was set aside for teachers who are being hired for the Free Primary Education programme.
The ministry wants to hire 15 lecturers who will be paid around E3 million per annum and six inspectors.
The Prime Minister’s office was granted about E1.7 million to fill up nine posts.
These include posts for the Undersecretary, Director of Policy Unit and a security guard among others.
Cabinet also approved nine posts for the Ministry of Agriculture.
The posts will cost government about E1.9 million. They include the post of Undersecretary, Chief Research Officer and Personal Secretary among others.
The ministry of Natural Resources has seven vacancies that will cost government about E1.6 million per month.
They include the posts of Water Engineer and Senior Economists which government has set aside E256 358 and E296 826 per annum for salaries of the officers who would be recruited.
Government would also recruit the Labour Commissioner and Assistant Labour Commissioner who will be paid E401 954 per annum (E33 496 per month) and E242 340 per annum (E20 195 per month) respectively.
The Labour Commissioner’s post is currently held by Khabo Dlamini on an acting basis.
Government approved about E3 million for filling in posts at the ministry of Information, Communication and Technology.
Some of the posts for the ministry have since been filled up.
These include the post of Director of Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS) and that of his deputy.
Welile Dlamini and Gcinangaye Tsabedze were recently appointed to the posts.
The ministry of Home Affairs was given a kitty amounting to over E2.6 million to hire 58 officers.
People who will either be promoted or recruited will fill up the posts of Chief Immigrations officer, Senior Immigration officers and Assistant Immigration officers, among others.
The approval of the posts was done at a time when government grappled to fully implement the Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap, an initiative which entails the elimination of 7 000 posts from government in the next three years.
This was a recommendation government made to the International Monetary Fund in line with efforts of decreasing the wage bill which presently stands at E350 million per month.
At this level government salaries amount to 17.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) against the internationally acceptable eight per cent.
That’s what we want – NAPSAWU
MBABANE– Vincent Dlamini, Secretary General of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) says government is going the right direction by creating jobs.
He said the jobs would help the nation which faces a dire situation whereby 69 per cent of the population was unemployed and a widespread poverty standing at 63 percent.
Dlamini said the hiring process should be transparent.
He said everyone eligible should be afforded an equal opportunity to be hired.
"We have said it before that as a union we are against retrenchments we want everyone to be employed and be productive there," he said.
Dlamini said the approval of posts was relevant in that some departments were presently under strenuous conditions following the shortage of staff.
He said these conditions compromised service delivery in the ministries.
"What is important is that people should be hired fairly and elements of nepotism should be eliminated," he said.
Dlamini said in the past some departments received people who were less competent for the jobs they were posted to due to nepotism.
He said this resulted to the overburdening of some officers while others loitered with nothing to do in the ministries.
Government staff audits undertaken in 2011 for the ministries of Finance and Economic Planning and Development revealed that some ministries, departments and posts were either misplaced or redundant.
High on the list were the ministries of Finance and Economic Planning.
The audit recommended the merger of the ministry.
The ministry of Economic Planning was also found to have the department of Millennium Unit which was found to have been misplaced in the ministry.
It was gathered that it was solely established on a project basis and after completion of projects, they are handed to various ministries.
The audit found that the unit was misplaced in the ministry in that the core business of the ministry was to develop policy and plan economic development against managing projects.
The audit also found that the ministry had the posts of Senior Roads Engineer, Senior Engineer and Planning and Construction Engineer which were not relevant to its core business.
Some will be promoted
Allen McFadden, Executive
Secretary of the Civil Service Commis-
sion (CSC) said filling of the posts would be dependent on the various departments.
He said some of the posts would be filled through promotions.
McFadden said this arrangement would make it difficult for people who were not in the civil service to be hired. This especially applies to the senior posts.
The secretary said the ministries have Internal Promotions Boards whose responsibility was to evaluate departmental members of staff and make recommendations for their promotions. He said in the event the boards fail to find suitable candidates suitable for promotions, the posts are then advertised by the CSC within various ministries. Civil servants in different ministries are offered the opportunity to take up the posts. He said if this process fails to come up with a suitable candidate, the jobs are then advertised externally. McFadden said his department was aware of the fact that government should be working towards reduction of the wage bill.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that 7 000 public workers be sent home. He said the reduction of the wage bill was a possibility.
He said the answer lay with the Enhanced Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme (EVERS).
The Executive Secretary said a lot of people were waiting to take advantage of EVERS and exit the government system. He said EVERS was the answer to the call by the International Monetary Fund of reducing the number of civil servants and subsequently the wage bill.
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