Contract workers to be integrated into permanent public service – Harmon
Public service CoI
– report handed over to Opposition Leader, House Speaker
Minister of State Joseph Harmon said Government is currently in the process of streamlining contract workers to fit them into the permanent structure of the public service.
He was at the time speaking to journalists following the handing over of the final report of the investigation into the public service to Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland.
According to Harmon, Government has decided to go this route based on recommendations coming out of the recent Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Public Service.
Harmon told journalists that more than 100 persons who were employed on a contractual basis are now part of the regular public service. According to him, Government is also working to ensure that no significant hiccups are experienced with the change.
Just recently, chartered accounting firm Ram and McRae pointed out that too much strain was being placed on the public coffers with the employment of contracted workers. It made the significant finding following the delivery of this year’s national budget.
The firm noted the Ministry of the Presidency’s increase in contract employees from 298 in 2015 to 505 in 2016, as well as an increase in the cost of wages and salaries for contract employees from $142 million to $798 million.
The firm pointed to the significant increases in the item which showed the allocation to the Office of the Prime Minister, with the cost of wages and salaries for contracted employees rising from $21 million to $82 million.
It also addressed the Ministry of Public Infrastructure which saw an increase from $9 million to $51 million in a particular programme and $182 million to $533 million under its Public Works Programme.
The firm had said that the practice was “not healthy” for the country and placed a strain on Article 38 of the Constitution which requires the public service to be free from political influence.
Meanwhile, following discussions at Cabinet level on Tuesday, Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Wednesday presented copies of the final report of the Inquiry into the public service to House Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
Government in September 2015 established the three-member Commission to investigate, report on, and make recommendations on the role, functions, recruitment process, remuneration and conditions of service for public servants. The Commission was also expected to determine measures to improve the efficiency of the public service and have a detailed examination of how salaries and wages are determined and allocated.
According to Harmon, Cabinet is now expected to consider the recommendations made by the Commission after which a pronouncement will be made.
The Minister said copies of the report will also be delivered to the President of the Guyana Public Service Union, the Trade Union Congress and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana.
Minister Harmon on behalf of the Government of Guyana and President David Granger expressed gratitude to the Public Service CoI Commissioners. Considering the Terms of Reference set out by President Granger, Harmon said he believes an “excellent” job was done. Harmon also spoke of Government’s plans to establish the Public Service Staff College.
“We’ve started to interview persons for the college and have identified the staff for the college – it’s just now a question of having the actual location and we’re working on that,” the Minister stated.
The Public Service Staff College campus will be at Ogle, East Coast Demerara (ECD). It will commence operations when infrastructural works on the buildings are completed and all equipment acquired.
According to Harmon, the Staff College is an important component of Government’s reform of the public service.