28 March 2014

Gambia: Pay Reform Top On Gov't's Civil Service Agenda - SG Sabally

The secretary general and Presidential Affairs minister has told a validation meeting that pay reform constitutes a critical component of government's Civil Service reform programme. He noted that the basic tenet of this service-wide endeavour is to systematically review the current practices in wage determination, salary payments and overall incentive standardisation.

Speaking Thursday while presiding over the validation of the "pay and grading study", conducted under the aegis of the Personnel Management Office (PMO), Momodou Sabally, also head of the Civil Service, expressed hope that upon its finalisation, the reform will provide greater transparency and competitiveness in human resource management.

As has been amply demonstrated since the advent of the Second Republic, the SG noted that President Jammeh is committed to providing a conducive environment to enable the public service perform at its optimal level. As government works to improve the work environment in the Civil Service, Sabally said "it is imperative not to lose sight of the fundamental principle of value for money in our investment". He argued that it is a moral responsibility on the part of all public servants to ensure effective and efficient service delivery and performance accountability to the citizenry at the individual, team and sector levels. He reminded them that reform is not an event and by no account an end in itself but a means to an end. "Therefore, validating this document today does not automatically provide a panacea to all our challenges," he stated.

Given that the Civil Service challenges grow in complexity with time in response to growing needs and aspirations of the public, the secretary general further stressed that the public service as the implementing arm of the government must be dynamic and relentless in its commitment in addressing the development challenges of the country.

"It is gratifying to note that a lot of ground has been covered within the medium-term planning framework of government 2012-2015, which includes progress registered in pay and pension reform amongst others. Though a lot remains to be done, clearly the momentum is on our side," he remarked.

The Civil Service boss assured that President Jammeh shall never rest nor will they on their laurels until the journey to prosperity, economic and social justice for all and sundry is achieved. It is in this spirit that, he noted, that they are now focusing on key reform areas such as pay, pension, institutional strengthening and service accountability. The next phase of the reforms, he informed, will understandably focus more on service accountability, which makes the citizen, rather than mere procedures and activities, the epicenter of all interventions.

The permanent secretary, PMO, Dawda Fadera, underscored that the government under the leadership of President Jammeh instructed that this pay system be overhauled completely because it has been around for almost 30 years. "All we were doing in the past was simply tinkering with the structure, changing in a professional and uncoordinated manner so that we show value for money and pay people fairly," he noted. He explained that governments' pay systems in all other countries are based on strategies, systems and structures that are clearly set out to ensure fairness and consistency and value for money. "But with time, environment changes around us, market mechanism changes, consumer price index changes and so the pay system must also keep pace with those so that attraction is encouraged in the system," he concluded.

Both SG Momodou Sabally and PMO Dawda Fadera thanked the World Bank and the government of The Gambia for funding the study and the Public administration International (PAI) for conducting the study.

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