Reforms Will Bring Positive Outcomes For People

A new chapter in the continuing evolution of our civil service was opened by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama this week. He made it clear that new Permanent Secretaries selected for
26 Mar 2016 09:44
Reforms Will Bring Positive Outcomes For People
Permanent secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Meleti Bainimarama, and Permanent Secretary for the Prime Minister Yogesh Karan during the launch of the induction of the new Permanent Secretaries on Monday. Photo: Office of the Attorney-General

A new chapter in the continuing evolution of our civil service was opened by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama this week.

He made it clear that new Permanent Secretaries selected for this new journey were not only picked on merit, but with an expectation to perform.

In another words they will be held accountable for their performance. The new Permanent Secretaries have been described by Mr Bainimarama as the ‘A team’. They have been given the freedom to innovate and raise the standard of service to the people.

In the past the civil service did not have a favourable rapport with the people, because it failed to move with modern changes about best international practices.

As a result, ordinary people usually harboured a negative perception based on poor service delivery. For a long time, many civil servants thought once they were recruited they could not be disciplined or sacked as long as they reported to work on time at 8am and finished work at 4.30pm.

Unfinished work can be left to the following day to complete. There was no urgency to finish the work in the shortest possible time.

It was not uncommon to see ordinary people, some travelling long distances from rural and maritime areas, make several trips to a Government office to check on requests or applications.

Many complaints are probably still lying in files that have not been actioned and have gathered dust.

Allegations that corruption, abuse, nepotism and unprofessional conduct were rife, dogged the civil service to the point that a growing number of people had lost faith in the civil service.

But things are now changing for the better, under reforms instituted by the Bainimarama Government.

The Government has deliberately gone out to raise the bar to eliminate practices that are not compatible with its vision. That vision is all about taking development to the people. It requires the changing of mind-sets and cultures that are not consistent with the objectives of these reforms.

Civil servants who resist change will be removed to make way for changes to happen.

Mr Bainimarama has made that clear. It’s good news for people. They can now expect a better and more efficient service from the civil servants.

This Government has no doubt learned from the mistakes and weaknesses of previous governments and resolved not to repeat them.

Emphasis will be placed on co-ordinating services and unity of purpose to prevent provincialism and eliminate the “who you know” mentality. The scrapping of constituencies in the electoral process and the introduction of one national constituency fosters this unity and helps facilitate the necessary changes.

Public service reforms have been long overdue.

They will build a culture of excellence and professionalism that is needed to help Fiji keep abreast with modern international changes.

The involvement of the World Bank ensures stability and integrity of the reforms.

The reforms will strengthen Government performance, through effective utilisation of public funds and resources. They create a positive environment that stimulates entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Response time from Government agencies to applications and inquiries should improve significantly as reforms continue.

The changes will be a winner for everyone.



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