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EDITORIAL: Civil service reforms needed to lift productivity, efficiency

EDITORIAL: Civil service reforms needed to lift productivity, efficiency
August 21
10:49 2017

Here’s an example why the Government’s civil service reforms are crucial.

Misleading people and giving wrong information about the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) to students was an issue raised at the recent Fijian National Budget Roadshow.

According to the 2017-2018 National Budget there has been an increase in allocation for TELS semester allowance and increase in allowance for students studying overseas.

Last week tertiary students from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Fiji National University (FNU) grabbed the opportunity to voice their concerns and clear the air with the Minister for Civil Service and Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Tertiary students have stated that the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board (TLSB) had informed them that the allowance increment announced in the National Budget will come into effect from next year.

Students stated that they had visited the TSLB office and many were turned away after being informed that the ‘policy is only effective from 2018’.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has reiterated that the problem lies with civil servants who are not doing their job. He says this was wrong and the new allowance has been applicable since August 1 this year, the new financial year.

It is definitely unfortunate. At the civil service level some are not implementing the right things.

This seems to be in every ministry and some civil servants are either not informed accurately, they just do not care or they are trying to sabotage the Government.
Many civil servants are not implementing the actual policies needed and that is really a problem. An example stated by the Attorney-General is how the Ministry of Education made a mistake with the contracts for teachers.

The contracts should be from the beginning of the school year and not in the middle of the year. The Ministry of Education had made some mistakes which needed to be rectified.

Issues raised by the tertiary students about TELS is something that Government is looking at thoroughly due to some civil service incompetency.

It was earlier noted that Government has been cautious in starting the reforms by taking a long hard look at the pay of civil servants. They will not have people in the civil service working with an attitude that they will retire comfortably without making any difference.

Last month in the Northern Division, the A-G also apologised on behalf of civil servants to a gathering of sugarcane farmers during a talanoa session at Vunivau, Labasa.

People had voiced their frustration and concerns about the slow processing of land applications, land lease renewal and ill treatment by iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB), Town and Country Planning and Lands Department staff.

The Attorney-General actually apologised for the performance of the civil servants and said that the issues arose because of insufficient people being at work.

People have been fired because of corruption and some in certain Government departments are slowing down work, thus a lot of clean-up is happening in the civil service.

This is why the civil service reforms are taking place. It is why they are crucial.


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