13 January 2013

Rwanda: New Labor Structure for Public Service Targets High Performance

Starting with the next fiscal year, Rwanda's public servants will be working under a new labor structure ensuring improved performance, officials of the ministry of public service and labor (MIFOTRA) have announced.

The officials made it clear that the current review consists of institutional performance assessment, job analysis and further institutional restructuring of all public institutions and agencies so that they can establish new structures, job profile and required qualifications for their that staff to deliver effectively and boost production.

"The analysis will help us to set up new and appropriate structures for public institutions, to harmonize job profile and job requirements to improve public service delivery" explained Bonaventure Uwamahoro, the director of planning, reform and capacity building at MIFOTRA.

Therefore, Uwamahoro is confident that they will have effective institutions by establishing a clear description for each position and fitting requirements, a framework he said will be likely to lead the country to maximize the use of its resources.

"In the end, we really want to come up with effective institutions and reduce overlaps," he pointed out, adding that the aim is to empower local entities to be more able and to better serve the citizens by carrying out plan implementation while the central government will only be making policies, coordination and monitoring.

"When people say that we are performing well, they are comparing us to some of our neighbors, but that should not be the right reference."

The guidance during this reform process, the official mentioned, considers both sides being input namely human resources and money and output which is better public service delivery.

According to Uwamahoro, all public entities are invited to make their own performance assessment and come up with proposals on the way forward to increase their performance. The existing organizational structures will be evaluated and new proposals from the institutions will be submitted to the ministry of public service and labor for coordination and consolidation. There is also a national reform steering committee that will be following up the process and cabinet will approve the whole result before implementation.

Over the years, the government has been implementing a series of reforms and the current one is the third phase which coincides with the third phase of decentralization that seeks to reinforce effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and integration of the public service sector.

Due to these reforms, Rwanda has received praise due to steps already taken, but Uwamahoro thinks that there is still room for improvement since for him the target is to look at " how can we deliver better than now" to attain the country's vision.

"When people say that we are performing well, they are comparing us to some of our neighbors, but that should not be the right reference," he said. "We would like to achieve a high level of performance so that we can meet our targets of Vision 2020 to be a middle income country and deliver for the achievement of the EDPRS II targets."

Recruitment stop

Apparently the existing structures are not appropriate to serve to the country's vision due to fact that many government institutions have been requesting for supplementary employees commonly known as "contractual staff" to complement those who are already in the existing structure.

As of last June 2012 for instance, the ministry had already registered more than 5,000 contractors to complement existing fully employed staff under public service general statute as recognized by the organizational structures. The government was spending more than Frw 2 billion on this extra workforce, hence a need to analyze and review existing public service labor structure.

Anastase Murekezi, the Minister of Public Service and Labor, recently confirmed that the government issued order provisionally stopping all public institutions to recruit new staff since the government first want the reform process to be concluded and show exactly which positions need to be provided for a more productive public institutions.

"New job opportunities will be offered after approving the new labor structure for public service" the minister said during a recent job fair, adding that the provisional measure would not worry anybody since the public sector only absorbs about 3% of the Rwanda active population estimated at 5 million.

Since the objective of the current reform is all about making effective institutions, it could be expected that employees would be increased in an institution or reduced in another, but Uwamahoro emphasized that the overall target is the sake of better performance of the public service.

"It's not about reducing public servants," he emphasized. "It's all about improving performance having in mind that we have to achieve our vision."

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