Date: February 2021
On January 11th 2021 the Somaliland Chronicle published an article titled “Somaliland Civil Service Project Restructuring“ which actively misrepresents the progress made in delivering civil service reform through Civil Service Strengthening Project (CSSP) implemented by the Government of Somaliland (GoSL), and funded by the World Bank.
The Civil Service Strengthening Project (CSSP) aims to strengthen basic functions for payroll, human resources and policy management in selected central agencies and line ministries. Its key priorities include: (a) establishing the civil service’s legal and institutional framework; (b) improving institutional structures to efficiently carry out their functions according to mandate; (c) recruiting, managing, and compensating civil servants to attract the ‘right people’ for the job; and (d) establishing competent, client-focused staff.
Beneficiary institutions of the project are the Somaliland CSC and Civil Service Institute (CSI), the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoSLA), the MoF, the Ministry of Planning and National Development, the Office of Presidency (OoP) -, and sector ministries with focus on service delivery and economic development. Additional pilot ministries will be selected among the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Rural Development, and Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
On the Somaliland Chronicle claims: –
Claim 1: 8,500 employees were not included in the original audit.
Response: At a very basic level, this is incorrect. CSSP supported the Government of Somaliland (GoSL) to conduct Human Resource (HR) Audit that sought to establish the actual size of the public servants and identify the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in the operational systems. This was necessary to inform subsequent processes to align the HR requirements with the GoSL’s development aspirations as contained in the national development plan and strategic policies.
The process that took place between January and April 2018 involved physical headcount of civil servants in all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under the jurisdiction of the CSC. The exercise covered all public servants under jurisdiction of CSC both at the headquarters and in all 6 regions of Somaliland going down to the district level, which are the smallest operational units of devolved government functions.
The headcount thus covered the non-uniformed civil servants in all MDAs of the Government of Somaliland, except legally autonomous agencies including Central Bank, Water agencies, parliamentary personal, Berbera Fuel Depot, National Port authority agency, National printing agency and departments in the following two ministries.
- Ministry of Interior
A. Civil servants in Local governments that include all workers of local authority both at headquarters, region and districts
B. Uniformed civil servants in Security department that covers uniformed personnel (Police, Firemen, Prison and Coastal guards,)
2. Ministry of Defense in particular the Armed Forces Military personal and army forces.
However, it is important to note that all other departments and administration non-uniformed civil servants in the listed two ministries were covered in the national headcount. The exercise was coordinated by CSC in collaboration with all the line ministries, and with support from CSSP Project Coordination Unit and technical backup from external consultancy firm.
A total of 14,065 civil servants were successfully captured and counted through the exercise. This number was less than the 16,533 listed in the role of public servants and who were drawing salaries from the government. The HR payroll cleaning and management control is completed, the payroll sheet was revised and distribution of the final cleaned HR payroll has started for all MDAs. CSSP team handed over to MoF a list of cleaned MDAs to pilot activation of payroll module in Somaliland Finance Management Information System (SLFMIS). The Civil Service Commission has so far verified and confirmed that (2000) Ghost workers removed from the government payroll. Continues reconciliation of the payroll with personnel records is undergoing on. The list from CSC is now the basis upon which HR and Finance Departments of the MDAs prepare payroll for all workers within their ministries, departments and agencies.
From this exercise, all civil servants enumerated both at the headquarters and in the regions were issued with electronic Job Identification Card, each with unique number for all the civil servants counted.
In consideration of the reviewed Civil Service Law that has brought more MDAs under the Civil Service Commission, there is supplemental proposal of activities to be added in the extended CSSP II, i.e. to conduct a HR Audit, i.e. headcount and registration of all public servants which the new Civil Service Law subjected to the CSC oversight, such as
- local government grade (A & B),
- National water agencies,
- parliamentary personal,
- Berbera Fuel Depot,
- National Port authority agency and
- National printing agency.
It is critical to recognize that these public servants who were not previously under oversight of CSC have now been put under the commission, as per the amended civil servant law.
Claim 2: Civil Service Commission and the Somaliland government had not adequately budgeted for TMP staff salaries.
Response: The CSSP project also aims to support the design and implementation of a Civil Service Talent Management Program (TMP) to address acute capacity shortages and build core functionality in a select number of MDAs. This initiative was to support the government to attract, use, and retain talent in the civil service. By offering a more competitive remuneration package, the TMP is expected to attract key professionals from the non-government sectors and retain existing staff who are at proven risk of leaving the civil service.
The project supported development of a TMP manual that gives guidelines on recruitment and integration, salaries and benefits, procedures of staff performance tracking, training and development, proposed senior executive service program and program implementation framework.
So far a total of 27 TMP personnel (35% female) have been recruited for targeting MDAs such as Civil Service Commission (CSC), Civil Service Institute (CSI), Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Family (MESAF), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Planning and National Development (MoP&ND), Ministry of Investment and Development (MoID), Ministry of Energy and Minerals(MoEM) and Ministry of Defense (MoD). The Government proposed to reduce the end-target number for the TMP staff to 57, therefore sending a powerful signal of the Government willingness and ability to fill at least some critical positions outside the TMP.
Recruitment of the final batch of 30 TMP personnel are undergoing for 8 MDAs. The positions have already been identified based on the gaps that exist in the new proposed structures of the MDAs showing details of job descriptions. The job descriptions have been matched with required qualifications, competencies and experience and have been forwarded to CSC to publish adverts and recruit the staff for the target MDAs.
The TMP, which is designed to support the GoSL with critical staffing, will require fiscal commitments for the payment of a special allowance to these recruits. All the TMP positions supported through the project will be part of the new organizational structures and will be integrated into the core civil service establishment. The project design is such that Government should be funding the entire salary plus allowances, and the DLI amounts are reimbursements based on the achieved DLIs and the amount that Government has spent on salaries and allowances for TMP staff. Beyond the project period, with the operationalization of the new and improved organizational structures, the TMP pay scales will be fully absorbed in the government’s operational budget. The pay and grading exercise will integrate the TMP pay and grade scales into the new pay and grading structure.
The GoSL/CSC commit and make allocation of an adequate budget under the newly constituted budget line for TMPs for the fiscal year 2020/2021 budget to enable the World Bank to reimburse the GoSL for salaries and allowances expenses incurred on TMP staff.
The government, actually, has created a newly constituted budget line for TMPs for the fiscal year 2020/2021. Unfortunately the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the government budget. This, coupled with the absence of budget allocations under the GoSL/CSC budget line for 2020, made the government was unable to pay allowances of the TMP recruits between the months (September-December) 2020 and that was resolved later.
Claim 3: Impact of the project being negligible
Response: Since the inception of the project in late 2016, the project has showed a significant positive impact in all the aspects of the targeted areas which can be summarized below:
- Headcount: The project successfully completed headcounts and biometric registration of all civil servants under jurisdiction of CSC. This has enabled cleaning of Civil Service payroll and “ghost” workers are no longer in government payroll. There is good level of payroll control since the payroll is verified against authentic list produced by CSC. This is already helping the government to save money that was previously pilfered through payment of ghost workers. The cleaned data will be transferred to the HRMIS which will be procured through the project.
- MDAs Restructuring: The project has completed the restructuring of 18 Ministries and in the process of completing the remaining MDAs this year. Each of the 18 Ministries have been assessed, their functions have been reviewed, TORs for the key staff and departments have been developed and recommendations have been shared with the government for action. This was done through funding from the World Bank through the Civil Service Strengthening Project.
- HR Administrative Policies and Procedures: During the project period, 16 HR Administrative Policies and Procedures have been developed, approved by the Cabinet and the President. Those policies have been already disseminated and implemented at the MDAs and the concerned staff have been trained on them.
- Talent Management Program: The objective of the TMP is to support human resource and institutional capacity improvement in targeted MDAs. A recent assessment to the TMP staff showed a significant improvement in the institutional capacity of the MDAs that received the TMP staff.
- Civil Service Law: The revised Law has been approved by the Public Sector Reform Steering Committee and submitted to the Cabinet. The cabinet approved and passed to the parliament for final approval.
- Draft National Employment Policy: The draft National Employment Policy, which supports the implementation of the Somaliland Vision 2030 goal to achieve full and productive employment for all citizens, has been developed.
- Pay and Grading policy and system: Contract negotiation for this assignment is ongoing. A pay and grading policy, and a new pay and grading structure will be developed. TMP salaries will be integrated in the new system.
- Public Sector Pension Reform: The GoSL and the Bank completed the review of the pension policy and the draft Bill that is now with the Government for the final review and decision;
- Management and Common Service Training: Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration will provide TA to the CSI in designing and delivering training programs for civil servants, curriculum development and train CSI staff. English being a second language in Somaliland, it is justified to be have this included in the curriculum that will be offered to the public servants through the CSI and with TA from GIMPA.
Claim 4: Year-long study looking into what it will take to create a healthcare program for government workers.”
Response: This was not covered nor funded from the World Bank financed CSSP. Recently, the Civil Service Commission have started to look into the possibility of creating a health care program for the civil service and how the program would look like in the near future. It is a program that is owned and run by Somaliland Government through the CSC and so far supported by Somaliland’s own funding and initiative. The Commission has tasked the Civil Service Institute (CSI) to carry out a survey and come up with suggestions regarding the program.
Claim 5: Part of the contract with GIMPA is English language training for civil servants conducted by ACH a British firm subcontracted by GIMPA
Ashley Community Housing (ACH) is registered with NOCN Edexcel and IMI accreditation bodies to enable them to provide international qualifications, ACH has many partner universities and training institutions, including but not limited to Aston University, Bristol University, Bath University, Oxford university and Birmingham University.
ACH have a free general English course (Business and Academic English), but most important ESOL and they deliver in four trainings centers in Bristol, Birmingham, Sandwell training center, and ACH Wolverhampton. They provide support to improve English skills, gain an English qualification, develop their communication, reading, writing and listening skills and speaking and build confidence in knowledge of living in the UK. They train over 2500 students per year and they attract a mix of students from all backgrounds and ages. Duration of courses varies and depends to the nature of the course and the caliber of students. However, majority of the courses are between 2 to 16 weeks and they prefer small courses so students can quickly progress.
Therefore, the 3000 refugee students were not covered nor funded from the World Bank financed Civil Service Strengthening Project and thus cannot be related to it but can be considered a bonus for the ACH’s experience in language training.
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of the Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff.
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