Interviewed by Esam Al-Thaifany.
Exclusive to Al-Gumhoryah newspaper.
Minister of Civil Service and Insurance, Humoud Khalid AL-Sofy stated that the ministry is engaged in modernizing the civil service and a comprehensive administrative reform and it has come to the final touches. Mr. Al-Sofy said that “his ministry had accomplished the proposition of public occupation cadre and submitted it to the cabinet that had already approved it. A workshop and plenary meeting were scheduled to be held for this purpose”.
He asserted that the enactment the law of establishment civil service fund and adoption the system of fingerprint , biological photo and the job magnetized card would help overcoming the administrative imbalances in the state employing structure. Full Text of interview is Below.
Sabanet: what about the State administrative system following 10 years of the unity?
Al-Sofy: It is very well known that the unity had entailed merging the two administrative systems in the country ; consequently brought about heavy burden on the government.
Civil service problems are the most serious obstacles that government had to face when engaged in re-building the single state institutions.
The government has been embarking on the economical , financial and administrative reform program since 1995 , however priority given to economical and financial reforms due to the economy imperative needs.
In 1998 Yemeni government had adopted the scheme of modernizing the civil service. The proposal aimed to update all components of civil service, namely principal regulations , building the institutionalized capabilities and rationalizing the government system as well as specifying the state occupation.
Quite reasonable achievements had been made in the domain of the basic regulations and setting up data base. Procedures are underway now for updating the mechanism of manipulating the employment’s file. This is a big progression.
Efforts will be going ahead in the coming stage. Following the republican decree No. (1) for the year 2004, concentration is due to be on the job’s card and biological fingerprint. The main procedures of this matter had been accomplished.
Thus , law No(1) for the year 2004 had been issued concerning to establishment the Civil Service Fund to address the surplus manpower. The fund has been running its duties within a legal and legislative frame.
With reference to rationalizing the employing process , the annual jobs rate reduced from (35,000) job opportunities to (9700) . The ministry had referred more than (12000) of the surplus employment to the Fund.
With respect to retirement the ministry had pensioned more than (33,000) of pensioners who had reached the pension’s age or finished the years of civil service. We would also refer over (4000) officers to pension this year.
There several challenges hurdle the reform’s goals such as the job duplicity and restructuring the government’s sectors. These obstacles sometimes distracted our efforts away from the targeted genuine reforms .
Q: How are you getting along with the civil service updating process ?
A: The proposal aims at overcoming hyper employment , restructuring and rationalizing employment size. The administrative reform means setting up modern administrative structure able to offer the service at lower cost , short time and limited strain.
Civil service updating project is being financed under international institution surveillance, therefore we are handling it according to up-to-date scientific and technical style .
In the first phase, there are nine of government’s bodies were due to be restructured. Thereby , we are committed to the financers to restructure the following governmental authorities: ministry of Civil Service and Insurance, ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, ministry of Public Health and Population, ministry of Social Affairs , General Authority of Metrological, Central Organization for Audit and Controlling and the two Authorities of Customs and Taxes.
Contracts with foreign companies were inked to kick off the restructuring plan as well guarantees and credentials were submitted to both of the Planning and international cooperation ministry and World Bank. The consent is expected to come soon.
With regard to jobs duplicity , the ministry had made a spontaneous endeavor to tackle this phenomenon through conducting computerizing classification thereupon, more than (20,000) employees were dismissed but it turned out that the data used by those who have got double jobs are different so we had to get a help of international expertise from friendly countries suffered from this problem and had managed to get ride of it.
In this course , we discussed the matter in consultation with the concerned officers at the armed forces and security personnel. We have already agreed to address this dilemma.
This problem actually is one of the problems which have been handled by the republican decree No(1) for 2004. Specialist committees in this subject have been set up and contracts with the foreign firm were signed ; but it is a prerequisite to build up a modern data base so the process will take eight to ten month ahead.
The primary proceedings had eventually begun and the central data base updating is underway now. Experts are engaged in forming a reliable foundation can’t be penetrated by anti-administrative reform.
Concerning to the surplus employment , it is very large and the ministry had faced great deal of rebuke and resistance. Some people hold out the reform for political motives ; while others oppose the measures due to ignorance or good will, however, the ministry had referred more than (12,000) employees to the civil service fund , yet it has been cashing their salaries.
The ministry now is reclassifying them to pension those who ran up to the age of retirement. The others who have not yet completed their service will be compensated for their rest years. Some of them will be re-qualified and distributed to the governmental sectors might be in need of their services.
We are neither static nor we do talk much and do nothing as some people may guess.
The updating issue is a long build up process being performed step by step but people merely care about the increase of salaries and they never ask but about the payrolls strategy.
Q: How about the cooperation with the military sector concerning to those who have got double jobs in the civic and military sector?
A: The employing duplicity phenomenon is a serious challenge we are facing. We’re aiming to build up the state’s modern institutions and to eradicate imbalances wherever they are. The government is capable of handling the imbalances in the different sectors. The treatment will be taking place without interference in the different bodies authorities.
To be more accurate , the problem will be tackled through specific mechanism based on establishment central data base for the civil service as a security valve against any attempt to penetrate it. Similarly , there are central data bases are being set up in the ministry of defense , ministry of interior and political security system . Thus, there is a committee comprises the three ministers of civil service, defense and interior .
The security tracks are formed in the course of technical and netting links to ensure non penetration and to unified the data of the whole government’s employees. For instance, if somebody went to the ministry of interior to join to the security forces while he was employed earlier at any government body the mutual central data base would not allow him to do that because it would certify that he has another job after data base in the entire state’s being included the fingerprints and the biological photo.
Q: Would you give those of double jobs the right of selecting the favorite occupation?
A: The ministry of civil service had announced earlier that people who have got double jobs should select the favorite occupation and dismiss the other ones. But now if the duplicity is turned out we’re not obliged to ensure right choice.
The republican decree No (1) for 2004 , was issued to apply the system of fingerprint and biological photo therefore if the duplicity was spotted out or any illegal proceedings , the unit’s head or leader or officer will be liable for that.
I would like to notify some people that the system of biological photo and fingerprint will leave no room for imbalances and corruption because financial credits will merely be released to those who had been given the magnetic occupation card.
Q: What about the illegal employing that took place in the past?
A: This problem stemmed out from the coalition government following the unity. Every political party imposed what he could of employees. Some of those who had been employed were overpass the legal age of employing (45 years) , thus there are some of them now have run up the pension age while they haven’t yet completed the minimum
Scale of pension (15years). We had communed with the ministry of finance to put an end for such cases. We are going to tackle this issue through buying the rest years of their service or pensioning them.
On the hand, these who had been employed illegally are classified among surplus employment hence the ministry would address their problems either through justice compensation in pursuant to the law of civil service fund or re-qualifying them and redistributing to the needed bodies of the state.
Q: The parliament manpower reports revealed imbalances touched the occupation criteria! How did you deal with that?
A: The parliament committee had paid inspection visits to three governorates and unveiled some imbalances coincided with the employing process such as what happened in Sana’a governorate. The ministry had taken decisive decisions for repealing all outlaw measures. By and large, the percentage of imbalances was varied from one province to another. For example, in Ibb governorate imbalances reached 4.5% while 95.5% of the employing was justice.
I do asset that we are adopting transparence and equal jobs opportunities . Imbalances were reduced so much 1n 2003, comparing to the past years.
I do confirm that there are no exceptions however if they do occur we would terrace them and call the wrongdoers into accountability. There are nine general directors of the civil service branches were fired of their positions due to their deliberate mistakes.
Q: Why do not the ministry take control over the employing process in all state sectors?
A: Here is the problem. Civil service ministry in charge of the employment in some administrative units and the jobs average come up to 48% of these which meet the civil service criteria. The reason is that some bodies such as the independent administrative units and judiciary used to claim that they had improved their own regulations consequently employing procedures are performed far from the civil service.
Q: Have you got a solution for this?
A: Yes, there is a draft bill will be submitted to the cabinet of ministers and we’re going to stand up to the problem. We will impose the civil service employing criteria upon the whole governments bodies according to the cabinet decision No(38) with regard to carrying out the state employing budget.
Q: Have you suggested a solution to the inflation of high ranks posts of the state’s employees?
A: The solution will be within the course of restructuring the states institutions and the process will carried out through two stages and touching upon all institutions.
Q: How is that?
A: The project of restructuring the civil service is to include the entire states bodies over two phases. The first includes nine governmental organizations besides the ministry of education which was incorporated recently. Second phase is still under consideration. Vice president of the WB during his recently visit to the country assured me that the Bank
Will begin studying the needs of the project’s second phase in June.
Q: What about the unified cadre?
A: There is a unified cadre of wages but there is no single code of the job. The problem is that a graduate of theoretical college might be paid (YR70,000) as monthly salary while another one has got a P.H. degree but his salary up merely to (YR15,000). Furthermore, there are employees in some sectors receive multiplied bonus and premiums whereas others get none of such privileges. Due to these imbalances it is not an easy task to get ride of jobbery.
The unified payrolls structure has copped up with imbalances , therefore the minimum salary will not exceed the poverty line and maximum salary of any employee shouldn’t overlap the maximum wages. The wages national of wages has fixed the maximum wages so as the structure move upward automatically.
Cadre’s issue is a scientific and very complicated matter. Many countries had adopted it and they had settled down with specific model , it is a justice mode not merely take into account the qualification certificate and years of service but also the type of the job.
The ministry of civil service had accomplished the unified employing cadre and it had been approved by the cabinet .
A specialist committee was set up consisted of the ministries of Finance , Civil Service , Planning and International Cooperation and the Central Organization of Controlling and Audit. A unified strategy has been adopted following all concerned authorities agreed upon it and the cabinet suggested holding a workshop and plenary meeting about the proposal before putting it in practice as soon as possible.
Q: How about the journalist cadre?
A: The journalist occupation is of qualitative nature. We haven’t overlooked it. We are going to address the matter when the journalist cadre structure is determined in consultations with concerned authorities .
ََQ: Is there any increase in the salaries?
A: Yes, of course , HE. president of the republic directed the government to increase the salaries of all states employees and armed forces as well. The increase will be given in June and it is ranging from 20% to 40%.