Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Gov in hasty plan to make Masisi a “Jobs President”

Government is planning a massive cut back on civil service allowances in a bid to create more jobs on a limited budget ÔÇô a document passed to the Sunday Standard has revealed.

Insiders state that the cost cutting measure is part of a plan to make Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi the greatest jobs president of Botswana.

Sunday Standard is in possession of a document titled ‘Terms of reference for task team on overtime management’ detailing how the government plans to nip and tuck the civil service to create more openings for unemployed youths.

Interestingly, the task team compiled the report in less than two weeks and it is expected to be presented to Cabinet soon. “The work will be undertaken over a period of one and half weeks, from the 12th-21 February 2018,” states the document.

According to the terms of reference, the task force was mandated to evaluate Directorate of Public Service DPSM proposals against among others, identifying causes of overtime for specified jobs, assessing certain cadres and determine if they should be considered for commuted overtime allowance.

Among other proposals, DPSM has identified cadres in the public service for whom overtime and commuted allowances cannot be avoided.

The Task team was also charged with examining workload/duties for jobs submitted for consideration to earn commuted overtime allowance, assessing the feasibility of implementing flexible hours and shift work, where possible and identify causes of overtime where cadres work shifts and determine if the issue is staff complement capacity.

Based on the findings, it was also tasked with making recommendations and determine implications thereof.

According to government, management of overtime in the Public Service has brought various challenges among them, high management costs associated with calculating the hours worked and preparing payments for overtime which in itself attracts overtime and encourages corrupt practices where officers inflate hours worked since overtime is paid at an hourly rate.

Government states that other challenges include day offs in lieu of overtime resulting in accumulated leave days which comes at cost and low productivity during the prescribed eight hours so as to accumulate overtime. This has resulted in grievances and dispute over hours workers overtime. It has also emerged that the high expenditure incurred on overtime is not commensurate with work done.

Government said there was need to come up with better ways of managing overtime and ensuring prudent allocation of the available resources to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. The main challenges with overtime are among others, lack of supervision and payment of overtime which is not outcome or output based.

Government proposed among other things, strict adherence to eight hours by all civil servants and enhanced supervision to improve productivity; creation of Programme Officers under the District Administration positions at Kgotla Offices for provision of one stop services such as Births and Deaths Registration, Omang application and application for programs across government.

There is also a proposal for additional Assistant Immigration Officers to facilitate shifts at border posts, additional positions at Broadcasting, District Administration, IEC, Auditor General, Basic Education, Health and Botswana Police.

The government also proposed among other things to allow for the flexible working hours, provided officers work the eight hours prescribed in the Public Service Act stating that this will allow for work scheduling such that employees are fully engaged. It also proposed commuted overtime at 15 percent of basic salary for officers who provide services beyond eight hours consistently and allow officers to come up with creative ways of offering service to the public including use of different platforms for delivery.

Among the proposals, the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) identified cadres in the public service with respect to which it is unavoidable to incur overtime and proposed commuted overtime allowance at 15 percent of basic salary and flexi hours for identified cadres.

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