Nghimtina Proposes Contracts for Civil Servants

Minister of Works and Transport Erkki Nghimtina has suggested that the government should consider introducing contracts for civil servants to improve productivity.

Nghimtina was answering questions about his staff members’ work rate during debate on the budget allocations in the National Assembly on Monday where he also blasted civil servants who occupy government houses for being filthy.

“If civil servants were on contract, more work can be performed in this country,” Nghimtina told fellow lawmakers, admitting that the contract system might not be popular but it can be effective.

“You can go up to 60 years [of service in government] as long as you are performing,” he said, adding that government can arrange performance-based five-year contracts. At the moment there are 97 535 civil servants.

“A five-year contract does not mean there won’t be intervals of checking whether you are performing [or not]. If you are not performing, we say to you good bye,” Nghimtina said.

The minister also said the issue of permanent job security whether you are performing or not should be looked at, and that those who constantly read newspapers and loaf around the streets while waiting for pay day should be sent packing.

“We should look into this honestly. I think it is going to be a fight from the labour sector but other countries are doing it,” he added.

The Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) secretary general Basilius Haingura said the idea needs to be discussed thoroughly first, and that the union does not have a problem with it as long as government fulfills its obligation of providing adequate resources for teachers to meet their targets.

By resources, Haingura was referring to things such as lowering the teacherupil ratio, providing accommodation and adequate teaching materials. He also said if those things are not provided adequately, then accountability in the contract will be difficult to implement.

But defence minister Nahas Angula does not think the idea of contracts is practical, saying that he has been working on contract since 1990 and does not believe the system has improved ministers’ performance.

He said being a minister is more risky because one does not know whether one would be reshuffled or dropped the next morning.

“You wake up every morning expecting to be reshuffled,” Angula told The Namibian yesterday.

Even though he is skeptical about the proposal, Angula still believes that the idea can be feasible if the government and the unions agree on its implementation.

During his tenure as prime minister, Angula was responsible for the civil service and believes that contracts do not guarantee performance as they need more than just force people to perform. He said there is need for commitment from the civil servants to serve the public.

The chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Eddy Amkongo, declined to comment on the feasibility of Nghimtina’s proposal.

“(The) minister made a statement, not a proposal. Proposals follow a channel. A statement made remains a statement, therefore the question whether it is feasible and or lawful does not arise,” he said.

Meanwhile, several members of parliament have complained about the untidiness of government houses.

Education Minister David Namwandi suggested that those who fail to take care of government properties should be kicked out.

“The ministry [of works] must take serious steps and put mechanisms in place to curb this type of activity. They must be kicked out of those houses, irrespective of who they are,” he said.

Nghimtina who also announced that the government will not sell its houses anymore said some tenants of state properties suffer from the “I don’t care attitude”.

Source : The Namibian