Thursday, November 26, 2009

Don’t Discard State Workers - November 26, 2009

Fiji’s decision to retire civil servants at 55 has not been supported by a Japanese consultant who said “55 is too young”.

Speaking at a media conference at the Public Service Commission HQ today, Professor Akira Nakamura said the government should have ways to extend jobs to those who do retire.

“It’s easy to fire, but you also have to think of some other ways to cover the post retirement jobs, otherwise you are really demoralizing public officials,” said Nakamura, who has been invited by the Fiji government to conduct a seminar for its senior staff as part of its civil service reform initiative.

Nakamura, a Professor of Political Science and Economics at the Graduate School of Governance Studies in Meiji University in Japan, said the “recruitment issue” has to be a key consideration in any reform.

“We have to think about how to recruit the best and the brightest,” he said.

He added that the government of the day should ensure that the size of the public sector is appropriate to the size of the population.

Meanwhile, PSC chairman Josefa Serulagilagi said the upcoming seminar by Nakamura should further enlighten senior civil servants on strategies that could be utilized to ensure government decisions and processes are transparent, accountable and public service delivery is improved and efficiently provided.

Professor Nakamura will also be a guest speaker at the Civil Service Excellence Award function tomorrow night.

About 2300 civil servants, including 776 teachers, who had reached the age of 55, retired on April 30 this year as a result of the decision by Government to cut the cost of running its workforce and channel more funds to capital projects.

Some of the retirees were re-employed and signed new contracts in their specialized roles.

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