Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa launched the 2019-20 Public Service Strategic Plan in Harare yesterday aimed at reforming the public service and improve productivity, accountability, remuneration and pension reforms among other changes.
The Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Dr Vincent Hungwe, said they had crafted the Strategic Plan in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision for the rejuvenation of the public service to enhance its contribution to Government’s vision.
“Your Excellency — for the record — what you are launching today is a document which you yourself authored. The task that we engaged in was the easier one. It was to translate your vision into the dialect of the Commission.
“The vision of a productive and accountable public service which you articulated so lucidly has been and remains a source of inspiration for all who serve in the sector. Your call was for transformation and rejuvenation, and in heeding that call, you enthused us to become younger, highly motivated, more innovative and nimbler in our operations,” Dr Hungwe said.
Dr Hungwe said the public service needed a complete transformation to deliver promises espoused in Vision 2030 and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
“As we embarked upon the task, we realised that your script did not call for cosmetic alterations, but for fundamental transformation and change. Such change — as nature and practice are wont to show — is accompanied by discomfort, and often by pain,” he added.
The PSC chairman said the Commission had to be configured to support the conceptual, institutional, operational and cultural transformation that the civil service needs.
“At the heart of this Strategic Plan is the desire for the Public Service Commission — as the lead agency in the management of the human capital of Government — to spearhead national transformation and modernisation through ensuring that the mandates, core functions, missions, strategies, leadership and frontline personnel of all public institutions are appropriately devolved and aligned to Vision 2030,” Dr Hungwe said.
“In our effort to ensure that Government has at its disposal a competent and well-motivated work force, the Commission is paying attention to how that work force is recruited, inducted, capacitated, developed, motivated, assessed, remunerated and retained.
“The total environment in which public servants operate must thus be continuously optimised through organisation redesign and management as needed.”
He also said they would establish a Public Service Academy to capacitate civil servants.
“The Commission also considers the proper capacitation of civil servants for the jobs at hand to be of critical importance. To this end, the Commission has already commenced work towards transforming and integrating the existing public service training institutions into an overarching Public Service Academy. The target is to have the Public Service Academy operational by January 2020,” he said.
Dr Hungwe added that the Commission was committed to developing competitive and harmonised public sector-wide pay and benefits systems that attract, develop and retain qualified personnel.
“We have recognised the inadequacy of a remuneration framework that focuses inordinately on monetary pay to the detriment of a more holistic approach to livelihoods that includes: Access to affordable housing; access to affordable health care; pension reform for improved benefits; provision of transport (shuttle buses, vehicle loans, duty-free importation of vehicles); and healthy work life balance,” he said.
He added that the Commission had also prioritised pension scheme reforms that would see the establishment of a National Public Service Pension Fund.
“As Zimbabwe targets upper middle-income status by 2030, the Commission has prioritised decent retirement for its workers. In this regard, major concerns have been raised over the current pay as you go pension scheme which is not sustainable,” Dr Hungwe said.
“The effects are seen when Treasury struggles to pay pension benefits as and when they are due. The current backlog of un-honoured pension pay-outs is unacceptable, to say the least. To address this once and for all, we are establishing a National Public Service Pension Fund. Treasury has already provided the seed money for this purpose. This together with our monthly contribution and complementary capitalisation efforts will go a long way to ensure that the scheme is viable and sustainable.”
He said the Fund would bankroll projects that benefit civil servants like housing provision.
He added that the Commission, in partnership with the UNDP, was conducting a service-wide job evaluation exercise, starting with the Commission’s own Secretariat and will also be done across Government.