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Ground Breaking For Public Service Clinic

The plan to have a clinic for Public Servants in NCD looks set to be realised as meetings towards a ground breaking ceremony for the clinic continues.

Executive Manager PS & Institutional Housing Mrs Nancy Levi who is leading the team from the Central Government Office and a planning team made of representatives from various stakeholders met to plan for the ground breaking ceremony which is tentatively set for early next year.

During a meeting with Dr Goa Tau of National Department of Health, the team recommended for 28th of January 2022 to be the tentative date for the ground breaking ceremony.

This was due mainly because the year is drawing towards the shutdown period and it would be only fair to have the ground breaking for this very important intervention done at the beginning of next year.

Dr Tau said, the clinic would do good for Public Servants as they can be attended to at a clinic for Public Servants. “We will need to draw general guidelines for the clinic”.

Dr Tau said, there are many factors that makes the clinic an important asset for Public Servants in NCD. Mrs Levi also provided a brief from the Planning team outlining the need to have the ground breaking done virtually given the covid-19 situation.

It was raised that the need for a structure for the staff who will run the clinic is also critical and Mrs Levi has taken note of it to raise with DPM. Dr Tau will be taking an Information Paper to the NDOH Executives to brief them on the latest on the clinic.

He said, the functionality of the clinic is critical to determine the kind of facilities that the Clinic will require.

An NDOH Technical Officer informed the meeting that the submission on equipment listing was completed and that they will be submitting it to the NDOH Executive for funding.

DPM Acknowledge BPNG GESI Efforts

The Executive Manager GESI Whole of Government Mr. Emmanuel Ginis has acknowledged the efforts taken by the Bank of Papua New Guinea to hold its Gender Equity & Social Inclusion Forum.

Mr Ginis made these comments when  he rose to comment during discussion sessions at the BPNG Forum held at APEC haus on the 1st of September.

Mr Ginis congratulated BPNG for the step that they have taken to ensure that they have their GESI desk and Focal points in the organisation. He said, it is not an easy task and comes with its challenges but to have taken the steps to have GESI as part of the organisation is worth acknowledging.

The BPNG GESI forum themed “Pathway To Safety” had various stakeholder partners from non- government organisations, civil society and government agencies who participated in the forum.

All partners were given the opportunity to share their experiences during the forum. DPM as custodians of the GESI policy has been in close consultation with BPNG since 2019 assisting them to deliver GESI sensitization and mainstreaming training in 2020.

Secretary Mulls Over Performance

Secretary Ms. Taies Sansan has stressed the need for training for public servants as a way forward for the future cadre of public servants. Speaking at the launch of the Pacific Institute of Leadership & Governance Public Sector Training Policy in her capacity as the interim chair of the board, she highlighted that the changes that have evolved over time in the public service had to be addressed hence the training policy. 

Secretary Sansan said, serving in the public service is a well-regarded and privileged role. She said, individuals were paid to carry out services for and on behalf of the general public.  Secretary Sansan expressed concerns over what she described as a decline in the performance of public servants.

“As custodians, it is expected that we display commitment, dedication and ethics in our conduct. Some 40-plus years since independence, it is unfortunate that many public servants can no longer conform to what is expected of them in terms of performance.  For those of us who can still recall seeing the type of commitment and dedication that public servants displayed in the years after independence, it should make us wonder where all those qualities disappeared to.  Public servants in offices observed and obeyed the lines of authority. They did not chew betel nut or smoke in offices.  Primary school teachers and rural health workers even in rural areas were well-dressed and stayed in their work areas during the official hours. What has happened to such commitments?”

The type of work ethics, adherence to authority and feeling of responsibility that were prevalent in the 70s, 80s & 90s gradually evaporated over the last two to three decades. 

There are many reasons that could adequately explain the reasons why such changes happened.  Successive National Governments over time were aware of these changes and attempts were made to address some of the challenges and problems, while positive developments at the same time were encouraged.

Ms. Sansan said, it was for these reasons that the Department of Personnel Management with the leadership of Minister, Hon. Joe Sungi and former Ministers of Public Service, developed a 30-Year Long term Public Service Human Resource Development Strategic Plan 2020-2050, which was launched by the Prime Minister in June, which aims to address some of these public service issues, and to lift the level of professionalism across the entire Public Service. 

Ms. Sansan  in her remarks also highlighted the changes  the institution has undergone from its beginnings and name change to where it is at present. She said, when the process of state building seemed an impossible task the institution was already established as a unique place in the history of Papua New Guinea and was established as one of the cornerstones to shape the future of the country.

Combined Effort Needed For Public Service Housing

Secretary for the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council Mr. Ivan Pomaleu says the need for a combined effort by all line agencies is needed to push the agenda of housing as a condition of employment for public servants. Mr. Pomaleu was speaking at a meeting of all departmental heads on the Whole of Government Housing for Public Servants. The meeting was well attended and was chaired by Mr. Pomaleu. Secretary Ms. Taies Sansan in her opening remarks said, the meeting provided a great opportunity for all line agencies to come together under one roof and share their views about the issue of a Whole of Government Housing for Public Servants. “This meeting will give us an indication of where and how we can holistically progress this”.

PM & NEC Secretary Mr Pomaleu in addressing the meeting stated that the issue of housing for public service is a mammoth task. He said, respective agencies have their own ideas about how to do this however he stressed that there is political leadership that we have to work with on important matters such as housing. “I hope that this meeting can lead to something more coordinated and I’d like to think that we are government and our collective interest must resonate with the interest of the land and those who will put in civil works and give us the housing we truly deserve”.

Mr Pomaleu expressed that his excitement about the prospect of having housing as a condition of employment for public servants are based on 2 premise; “Firstly, If we get our act together we can actually, in that one effort, build that collective financing power to stimulate economic activity. An acre of land development can stimulate K20m worth of activity down the track. If you are to consolidate what each of you have and if you are able to have it aggregated into a collective effort we can then bring investment and financing into the picture – it stimulates economic activity. That’s important for our economic development efforts and it can be done without external financing. It can be about aggregating the savings our superfunds have and the banks can lend”.

Secondly Mr Pomaleu said, what attracts him to the possibility of a combined effort is that the opportunity to push the housing prices down. “If we can deliver at a certain benchmark level for a number of houses for public servants that we have control over, then the market will have to respond. We could have that as a collective effort that we bring to the table and to our government”. DPM, Department of National Planning and National Housing Corporation made presentations by providing respective housing updates during the meeting.

Hand Over Take Over of Ministry

The incoming Minister for Public Service Hon. Joe Sungi has issued a strong message to all public servants to ensure service delivery reaches the rural people. Minister Sungi made this known during a Handover Takeover ceremony with former Minister Hon Soroi Eoe on the 7th of January.

The incoming Minister says he wants to see a change in the way of doing things in the Public Service. This was the crux of his message during the handover takeover ceremony. “For far too long we have spent time on the “means” but not the “end”. The means is what we do and the end is simply serving our people.

He said, why should someone wait for so long to receive services due to the long queues and processes of the public service system. Minister Sungi said there are very long queue’s and he wants to see it shortened so that the “end” result is realized and that is service delivery reaching our people.

Minister Sungi also highlighted a number of measures he feels should be addressed and some of them are; the appraisal system, organizational structure, Performance Management system and the need for digitization of the public service systems.

He mentioned the need for the appraisal system to be strengthened as it reveals whether an officer is performing or not. He said a lot of actions can be undertaken with the appraisal form. “It can be used to recommend training and even to terminate officers”.

The Minister also spoke about organizational structures where he referred to some departments as having 4 deputies. He said, this shouldn’t be the case and that organizational structures should be standardized across all agencies.

Minister Sungi also mentioned the need for digitization and said it is the way to go. He made reference to the Public Service of India and how a hugely populated country like India with 20 million public servants is efficient and effective. He said, India has the best Public service in Asia and there is a lot that we can learn from. He said, the digitization of the cumbersome processes in the public service can shorten the waiting period. Minister Sungi said he will take on from where the former Minister Soroi Eoe has left off to ensure continuity in the many policy initiatives that has been undertaken.