Changes loom in civil service

via Changes loom in civil service | The Herald August 27, 2015 by Felex Share

Civil servants must brace for major changes in the coming few weeks following the submission of the civil service manpower audit report, which contains a host of recommendations to plug unnecessary expenditure, to President Mugabe yesterday.

The audit report, compiled by the Civil Service Commission at the instruction of Cabinet, will guide the implementation of key reforms in the public service sector.

This comes a day after the President’s State of the Nation Address in which he touched on a number of measures being put in place to stimulate economic growth and including a spotlight on corporate governance throughout the public sector as well as parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities. The detailed three-volume manpower audit report, seen by The Herald yesterday, sniffed out irregularities that caused the Government wage bill to balloon to unprecedented levels.

Said Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba: “I can confirm that the Civil Service Commission, through the responsible Minister, submitted to his Excellency the President a detailed three-volume report on the recently concluded civil service audit.

“I can also confirm that the civil service audit is a response to a Cabinet directive of February 10, 2015 which required that ‘consideration be given to some rationalisation of the country’s public service establishment in order to cut down the size of the wage bill’.”

Mr Charamba said the report would give the President a “statistical basis” for key reforms in the civil service as planned for in the economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, and as promised to the nation two days ago during his State of the Nation Address.

The Zim-Asset Public Administration, Governance and Performance Management sub-cluster is guided by the Results Based Management System and focuses on budgeting and resourcing, public sector modernisation and civil service reform, fostering good governance and building capacities for public sector institutions.

“The audit exercise was very physical and entailed deployment of Civil Service Commission staff to every corner of the country and the miracle is that such a mammoth exercise has concluded within six months of issuance of the directive.

“The nation must now brace up for major reform initiatives in the public service in the intervening weeks,” said Mr Charamba.

The audit report, which contains every civil servant’s name, employment code number, profession, province, district and workstation, might be tabled in Cabinet any time from now. It contains names of all members who were not found at their work stations when the head count was conducted in April.

The major highlights of the audit report are that 170 primary schools in the country have got deputy headmasters when they are not supposed to have them and this has unnecessarily increased the workforce and is costing Government $1 170 000 annually.

Circular number 15 of 2006 stipulates that a primary school with an enrolment of less than 281 pupils cannot have a deputy head. Deputy headmasters at about 170 secondary schools countrywide have been gobbling $1 168 272 annually from the public service wage bill when they should not be getting those salaries. A secondary school with less than 600 pupils is not entitled to a deputy head, according to Government regulations.

According to the audit report, School Development Associations have been employing their own teachers unprocedurally, with 3 412 schools countrywide recruiting a combined 6 913 teachers.

Government is paying the teachers who did not come through the authorised establishment. Of that number, 6 379 are primary school teachers and 534 are secondary educators. The duplication of school headmasters and deputies is costing Government $1 276 848 annually as there are 32 schools with two headmasters and 63 with two deputy headmasters.

Another costly area is that Government has been paying the salaries of 2 888 teachers who are working at private schools. It also emerged in the audit that the civil service wage bill gobbles about 65 percent of the national budget and annually $2 160 615 000 is going towards the salaries of all Government employees.

These include members of the uniformed forces, Health Services Board, Judicial Services Commission, Parliament of Zimbabwe and the rest of the civil service. Another $477, 6 million is going to the employment costs of pensioners every year, bringing the annual wage bill to $2 638 215 000.

The bulk of the employment costs are going to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education ($873 210 000 yearly), Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development ($80 723 000) and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development ($75 231 000). To flush out undesirable elements, Government has already ceased salaries of about 3 000 civil servants, 2 027 of whom are teachers, who were not at their workstations when the headcount was conducted.

There are reports, however, that some of those deemed absent were away conducting the audit and only those who prove that they are bona fide Government workers are being reinstated on the pay roll.