Friday, July 10, 2009

Civil Service to Axe Five Permanent Secretaries

Maldives Civil Service has given an entirely new meaning to the word 'permanent' by deciding to sack five permanent secretaries barely a year after they were appointed. Five is not a small number considering that they represent about 25% of all permanent secretaries.

The genesis of the problem dates back to last November, when the new MDP government took over and decided to reduce the number of ministries. This left some permanent secretaries in the lurch as their ministries were either dissolved or merged with other ministries. To 'solve' this issue Civil Service Commission (CSC) took the controversial step of assigning two or more permanent secretaries to some ministries, which according to most legal experts contravenes Civil Service Law.

Perhaps it is this ill advised step that led to the current fiasco. Had the Commission assigned the extra permanent secretaries as additional secretaries or joint secretaries at that point in time, it could have been acceptable all round. But in its infinite wisdom CSC refused to countenance this obvious solution all these months. It stuck to its guns so stubbornly as to vitiate the whole atmosphere. So in the end when CSC finally did accept the 'joint-secretary' solution under duress, there were no takers for it.

The way Maldives Civil Service is headed, it does not appear as if it is achieving its purpose. The raison d'ĂȘtre of a civil service is to maintain continuity in policy when governments change. Here we have a situation where 25% of permanent secretaries are sacked in one year. In the coming 4 years if President Nasheed decides to reorganize ministries a couple of times more, the remaining 75% could very well lose their jobs too.

It's not as if we are inventing civil service for the first time in the history of civilization. Why can't we learn how others approach similar problems? One thing we know for sure is that senior civil servants all over the world continue in their jobs (at least in rank and salary) till retirement age. That's why they are called permanent.


Anonymous said...

A solution to the issue is to introduce a catogary called 'Temporary Secretaries' or Temps.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you say that President Nasheed's administration is also contributing to this.. rather than putting the blame solely on the csc..Reasons I say this is.. apparently the admnistration has implied that this is more due to a financial constraint while at the same time the number of state ministers and political appointees are increasing exponentially (almost)..

Anonymous said...

Latheef was a failure as education minister. He is proving to be a failure as Head of civil service commission.Latheef was appointed by Maumoon to please his best friend Zakariyya Hameed whose daughter is Latheef's wife.Latheef is very slow in decision making. He is basically very stupid. He takes 8 months to discover he cannot have more than one permanent sec in a single ministry. His sentences are also very long. One sentence per paragraph is the norm with him.

Anonymous said...

Permanent secretary meetings are conducted like classrooms by headmasters Latheef and Muhusin. PMs are pulled up like errant school kids. How can such a commission work?

Anonymous said...

It's time for latheef, muhusin and fahumee to pack up and leave.