Author: Lonny Taingo

Hand Over Take Over of Ministry

The incoming Minister for Public Service Hon. Joe Sungi has issued a strong message to all public servants to ensure service delivery reaches the rural people. Minister Sungi made this known during a Handover Takeover ceremony with former Minister Hon Soroi Eoe on the 7th of January.

The incoming Minister says he wants to see a change in the way of doing things in the Public Service. This was the crux of his message during the handover takeover ceremony. “For far too long we have spent time on the “means” but not the “end”. The means is what we do and the end is simply serving our people.

He said, why should someone wait for so long to receive services due to the long queues and processes of the public service system. Minister Sungi said there are very long queue’s and he wants to see it shortened so that the “end” result is realized and that is service delivery reaching our people.

Minister Sungi also highlighted a number of measures he feels should be addressed and some of them are; the appraisal system, organizational structure, Performance Management system and the need for digitization of the public service systems.

He mentioned the need for the appraisal system to be strengthened as it reveals whether an officer is performing or not. He said a lot of actions can be undertaken with the appraisal form. “It can be used to recommend training and even to terminate officers”.

The Minister also spoke about organizational structures where he referred to some departments as having 4 deputies. He said, this shouldn’t be the case and that organizational structures should be standardized across all agencies.

Minister Sungi also mentioned the need for digitization and said it is the way to go. He made reference to the Public Service of India and how a hugely populated country like India with 20 million public servants is efficient and effective. He said, India has the best Public service in Asia and there is a lot that we can learn from. He said, the digitization of the cumbersome processes in the public service can shorten the waiting period. Minister Sungi said he will take on from where the former Minister Soroi Eoe has left off to ensure continuity in the many policy initiatives that has been undertaken.

Public Service Dedication Service

Dedication and Commitment was the main message to all Public Servants by the Public Service Minister Hon. Joe Sungi. Minister Sungi used the dedication service to reiterate the call to public servants to take stock of simple things like being on time, clocking in at 7.45am and clocking out at 4.06pm.

The Public Service Minister was blunt in his message calling on all public servants to be productive, ensure they produce quality work and that they are reliable. The Minister posed a lot of questions to the many public servants who turned up for the dedication service at the Sir John Guise Indoor complex challenging them to ensure they are punctual and that they conduct themselves in a manner fitting for a public servant.

“If you are not working according to the public service hours – then you are a thief. The time is now for PNG to wake up and the wakeup call starts with civil servants”. Minister Sungi said the program is timely. “We cannot do things alone if we don’t have God in our lives”. “Let us change the negative image of the Public Service into positive with pride and people can see that we can prove that we can do better”.

The Public Service Minister in his statement called for dedication and commitment by all public servants. He also revealed that he will be working together with the Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Sector Reforms to look into how Public Servants can own property and hire car companies when they are only public servants.

“We will be putting in preventative measures to reprimand public servants who abuse their positions to enrich themselves. Prime Minister Hon. James Marape who delivered the key note address outlined a number of his governments achievements and policy initiatives they have undertaken whilst in office.

When speaking about the Pubic Service Mr Marape said, public service in Waigani is too hierarchical, cumbersome and has too many systematic impediments. He said, it needed to be made lighter, better, smaller effective and efficient – instead of having too many bosses.

He further stated that rural PNG needs to be filled with qualified public servants in order to get on with the business of serving our country. “Let’s shift the excess head and bloated fat from Waigani to the rural areas. I have had the privilege of visiting many of our districts and it breaks my heart to see public servants working very hard in the rural areas with no support from Waigani”.

He called on all public servants to pay respect to front liners like teachers, police officers, HEO’s working alongside missionaries in the rural areas. The Prime Minister also reiterated the call by the Public Service Minister Mr Sungi to eliminate a system of public servants who get benefits for themselves by using their positions. We will put in place better incentives for public servants if they are

In closing— Prime Minister Marape said, there must be no room for complacency and corruption. “I will work towards making ICAC to be fully established”. He said, these are 2 of the cancers that affect our system.  Hon. Marape said, we must have a public service that eliminates asking for favours as public servants and clients of the state. He said, the country’s future is dependent upon what we do today. He called on all public servants to rise up and be committed and that the government will honour its end of the bargain. “It is you and I who will make things happen for this country and no one else.

UPNG students doing their Internship at DPM

8 University of Papua New Guinea Business Management students are currently doing their internship at the Department. The 7 male and 1 female commenced 8 weeks internship in December 2020 and will complete it this month. Most of them are 3rd and 4th year students and see the opportunity to do their internship with the department as a great opportunity that will greatly help them to see first hand what the HR processes are like. Final year student Sylvester Ifina who is attached to the policy branch said, it is an eye opener. “This internship is going to help me very much to get to know more about what it is really like in the actual workforce”. He said, this experience will really help me during my course this year especially in writing reports. Colleague student Emmanuel Wor who is also a final year student this year expressed similar sentiments. “I am really learning the practical side of things and it will help me a lot in my studies especially when conducting research. I have learnt how to write memos etc”. The students have been allocated to various branches within the department for the internship for the 8 weeks duration. Upon completion of their internship, the students will return to school for the 2021 academic year.

DEPUTIES SIGN CONTRACTS

Four senior executives from the Department of Personnel Management signed their contracts last week.

Deputy Secretary Executive Resourcing Services Mr Vele Ravugamini has been confirmed to his position after being in the position in an Acting capacity since 2018. He signed his contract for 3 years. 

Director Corporate Affairs & Capacity Building Mr Michael Moke also signed his contract for 3 years.

Two senior officers Mr Elison Kalimet and Ms Roselyn Rakuavia have been elevated as Acting Deputy Secretaries respectively whilst the two positions will be re-advertised.

Mr Kalimet takes on the role of Acting Deputy Secretary Policy & Reforms while Ms Rakuavia is the Acting Deputy HR Advisory & Compliance. Both deputies will act in their respective positions for a duration of 3 months and their performance will be assessed accordingly. 

Department Secretary Taies Sansan says she looks forward to working with the deputies following the signing of their contracts and Key Result Areas.

“Your contracts are performance based and now that you have signed them – please work towards achieving the Key Result Areas in your contracts” Ms Sansan urged them to provide the leadership and guidance required in their respective wings to ensure there is a cascading effect of their respective KRA’s to all officers within their respective divisions and branches.

“This year has been a challenging year with the covid-19 pandemic but as the country slowly finds ways to deal with the pandemic under the new normal – it is incumbent on you all as senior executives of this department to embrace the changes and work towards executing them. Importantly, let’s all work together to ensure we implement the major Public Sector reforms of the Department and the Government. That is critical and it is important that we achieve this under the Departments Corporate Plan”.

GOVERNMENT HONORS COMITTMENT TO PAY OUT PUBLIC SERVANTS

The Government has honored its commitment to pay out a total of 481 Public Servants through the Public Service retirement exercise.

Public Service Minister Soroi Eoe confirmed that the government through Treasury has released K28.4 million in October to retire these Public Servants who have reached compulsory retirement age and others who being retired on medical grounds. The Public Service Minister said as a result of the retirement exercise the government will be saving K14m when it retires the 481 Public Servants by the end of this year.

Minister Eoe says, K430m was allocated in the 2020 Budget to retire 2,150 compulsory retirees who are over the age of 65 years. From this a total of 481 Public Servants from 10 agencies were confirmed and validated for payout.

Mr. Eoe explained that from the K28.4m, K16.5 has been paid to the Department of Personnel Management who will facilitate payments for the identified line agencies with K11.9 million transferred to Police for the constabulary to facilitate paying out its 132 retirees.

Department of Personnel Management is now working on batch 2 for 2020 and have validated a further 138 requests which will cost K7.6m. This has been submitted to Treasury. The balance of K401.6 million is being looked at for re-appropriation in the 2021 Budget. The 481 Public Servants to be retired include an outstanding of 80 Public Servants from 11 agencies for 2019 and 401 from 10 agencies for 2020.

The break-up of this is as per the table below:

                          AGENCY (2020)TOTAL RETIREES
1Department of Transport6
2Department of Works179
3Hela Provincial Health Authority2
4Morobe Provincial Administration12
5National Cultural Commission15
6National Museum & Art Gallery3
7New Ireland Provincial Health Authority24
8Western Highlands Provincial Administration1
9Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority27
10Department of Police132
                                 
                          AGENCY (2019) 
1Department of Community Development6
2Department of Transport2
3Department of Health 9
4National  Cultural Commission5
5Port Moresby General Hospital27
6Eastern Highlands Provincial Administration1
7Western Provincial Administration1
8Western Provincial Administration3
9Southern Highlands Provincial Administration20
10West New Britain Provincial Administration4
11West New Britain Provincial Health Authority2
 Total 481

“The payout of retirees has been a long outstanding issue but I am pleased that the government is able to pay them out to free up the Governments Ascender Payroll system which will enable saving about K14m in 2021 once the deed of release is signed off by retirees and they are taken off the Payroll and to reprioritize these vacancies for essential services”.

Minister Eoe said, as part of the Public Sector Reforms and the need to control costs in the Public Service Payroll, DPM is doing all it can to clear the Ascender Payroll through the payout of Public Servants who have reached retirement age but have remained on the payroll over the years. “This is a great achievement for the Marape government in its efforts to cut the Public Service wage bill and the commitment this government has made to the Public Sector Reforms on improving and modernizing the public service by honoring this commitment”.

RESHAPING THE PUBLIC SERVICE

“The input we make today must be the correct input that will reshape the course of our country so that in the next 10 years when we look back, our generation has made the greatest impact in reshaping the future of our country. The reshaping of our country starts with reshaping the Public Service”. 

These were the words of Prime Minister James Marape when he opened the 2-day Public Sector Reforms and Cost Control workshop at APEC Haus on the 19th of October. Mr. Marape who has taken an interest in the reforms the Department of Personnel Management has undertaken, spoke of the many challenges the government faces regarding the Public Service and the need for reforms to modernize the public service taking into consideration cost controls.

The Prime Minister in addressing the workshop which had an overwhelming turnout from heads of line agencies, spoke at length about cost control and one of the main issues he stressed is the need for all public servants to be on contract. 

Mr. Marape outlined that the Public Service consumes about 70 percent of the governments cash revenue and called for discussions during the workshop to be around measures that could address costs. 

“Public Servants have a serious responsibility to the nation as we consume 70 percent of the total revenue collected”. He highlighted a number of the challenges that the workshop should deliberate on to stop unnecessary growth and to make the Public Service leaner and flatter.  One of the suggestions he made was for the utilization of the Public Private Partnership and advise how well this can be used. Mr. Marape made the call that after 45 years we need to have a better vision for the Public Service. “Let’s reward performance and discipline lack of performance. 

“I want a Public Service that’s performing”. The Prime Minister said the workshop was timely and that he was glad the conversations are taking place. Among other issues Prime Minister Mr. Marape highlighted redeployment of agency heads into other departments and the independence of the Public Service when it comes to Executive Appointments. 

Public Service Minister Soroi Eoe in his remarks told the workshop that one of the governments priorities is to reform the Public Service to make it efficient, responsive and cost effective. Minister Eoe also highlighted the 6 priority areas of his Ministry and among them is for the creation of a smarter, leaner organization structure removing duplication and inefficiency.  Secretary Taies Sansan in welcoming all line agencies to the workshop told them that the department needed to share with them all the challenges of the Public Service. Ms. Sansan said the objective of the workshop is to share what the Department as the key lead agency in HR matters is doing on the progress of legislative reforms especially in the areas of governance, policy and capacity building.