Sisiolo spells out the challenges
By TEDDY KAFO
SHORTLY after his re-appointment as the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Public Service (MPS), Nego Sisiolo shed some light into the ongoing transformation programs he will and have done for the betterment of the public service sector.
He revealed that the past governments, through their policies, have directed his ministry to address a few human resource management reforms.
These are: Public Service Bill, Public Service Remunerations, refocusing government ministries so that they remain relevant for its purpose; capacity building, conduct and discipline for public officers.
Sisiolo said the continuity of these reforms is vital.
“This policy programs must be sustained.
“Therefore I will continue to work with central agencies and our develop partners, taking a whole-of-government approach to ensure these policy intentions happened,” he said.
Of course we can all agree that the best of public service-wide performance is yet to come and Mr Sisiolo is adamant that there should be no room for complacency – doing more of the same.
“It is time we the public service shift away from working in silos to whole-of –public service approach co-sharing limited resources and commit to policies of national interest.”
“I fervently believe that if factors such as (i) strong value-based public service leadership supported by strong political leadership, (ii) appropriate incentives for public servants, (iii) modernised technology (e-governance), and (iv)institutional capacity building are meaningfully and consistently addressed, then we might move closer to realising our best and transform the public service,” he said.
He therefore call on central agencies, line ministries, Solomon Islands Public Employees Union (SIPEU) and other professional cadres to support his ministry in their effort to deal with these factors.
The long-serving PS also shared some of the key challenges he encountered in the course of executing government policies and other operational activities within the pivotal ministry.
He pinpointed lack of ethical standard in the public sector.
“There is gradual scarce of value-based leadership qualities in the public service circles, which makes it very difficult to post or deploy people best fit for the job.
“This does not mean that public service is without qualified people. There are growing number of qualified and experience people entering the public service.
“But our challenge is the lack of quality ethical leadership in the bureaucracy,” he said.
Sisiolo also highlighted inefficiency in the workplace as a major setback.
“There is the task of managing unwanted work attitudes and conduct seeing the landscape of public service we used to see in the past 30 years has changed.
“Now a days we saw government employees often exercise discretionary choice in the level of productivity, not necessarily performing to their maximum level,” he said.
“There can be no single solution to this challenge,” Sisiolo added.
“This means that public service reform programmes must be innovative enough to identify appropriate interventions to improve overall whole-public service efficiency.”
The re-appointed PS went on to highlight the important facet of being a public servant which are remunerations.
“Incremental approach in incentivising public officers which I cannot overemphasise the importance rewarding public officers at appropriate level so that they are able to look after their family while remain motivated to serve the government and its people is also real challenge.
“I believe that unprofessional work behaviours (chronic absenteeism, corruption, misappropriation of imprest, colluding with suppliers) as well as rising Non-Communicable Diseases-related cases in the public service can be partly attributed to the level of remunerations and salary paid to our employees,” he said.
The Ministry of Public Service is established to support the government in the management of its employees – the public servants.
As such the role of the PS and its officers is centred around: Managing terms and conditions of public officers, Management of public service establishment workforce, Administering public service restructure programs in collaboration with ministries and agencies, Management of public service workforce role-based training, Managing public service in-service human resource development, Lead the public service reform programs jointly with other SIG central agencies which are OPMC, MoFT and MDPAC, Executed the Public Service Commission delegated disciplinary powers and Secretariat to the Public Service Commission.