By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Just months after winning his second five-year mandate, President Adama Barrow promised Banjul Muslim Elders a whole raft of reforms set for the Civil Service. In the same month, President Barrow established the new Ministry of Public Service, Administrative Reforms and Policy. The speech was overshadowed by the President’s thinly veiled threat to civil society advocate, Madi Jobarteh whom he castigated in his speech. However, during his speech delivered on 2nd May 2022 on Eid Al Fitr, President Barrow promised to establish an Inspectorate Team that he says will visit “every Ministry every day to monitor staff arriving on time and leaving work on time”.
This FactCheck reveals new information on the newly established Ministry and if President Barrow kept his promise.
Inspectorates Team Promise: Speaking to Banjul Muslim Elders in Wollof as shown in the clipped video below President Adama Barrow said: “We will establish an Inspectorate Team under the Civil Service. Every day they will visit every office. Those coming on time and those not coming on time. Those leaving before time…”
FactCheck: On 17th April 2023 the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the newly established Ministry of Public Service, Mrs Lala Jaiteh Ceesay responded to questions on President Barrow’s promise to establish an Inspectorates Team to monitor staff start and close time. This is what she had to say.
“Right now, we have circulated a circular with regard to the clocking-in system. I think the sectors can attest to that. All staff must clock in when they’re going in and when they’re going out. What the sectors don’t know is that we’re actually working on integrating it with the pay scale. So, if you’re not at work and you haven’t given a reason, then it will be deducted from your PayScale,” said the Deputy Permanent Secretary.
To clarify further our reporter asked the Deputy Permanent Secretary if Inspectors will be hired. The Deputy noted that “with regards to the Inspectors we have the clocking in system and under the Personnel Management Office Unit they have an Inspectorate Unit that goes around and monitors all the staff and conducts a staff audit. A quarterly staff audit. They’ve done it many times and some salaries were stopped. Yes, we found a lot of ghost workers. So, this has been done and it has been ongoing.”
Speaking specifically on the automated system the Deputy Permanent Secretary says “the clocking in system whereby your fingerprint is actually taken and when you’re going in and you’re going out you have to clock in” will replace the Inspectorate Team. Especially “once it’s linked to the PayScale then that will cover not coming to work or leaving too early. So that will cover that.”
Verdict: An Inspectorates Team that conducts a quarterly audit of the Public Service which has resulted in the removal of ghost workers and salaries stopped is already in existence according to the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the newly established Ministry. However, the Inspectorates Team referred to by President Barrow during his speech to Banjul Muslim Elders will not be established. In its place, the government plans to establish an automated clocking-in and out system.
Promise not kept. An alternative automated system is in the process of being established.
About the Ministry of Public Service
Speaking at the launch of the 2023 Citizens’ Budget the Deputy Permanent Secretary detailed some information about the setup of the newly established Ministry which is officially called the Ministry of Public Service Administrative Reforms and Policy. Our research on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs 2022 Expenditure Report reveals that the newly established Ministry spent over D40.9 Million last year out of the D134 Million approved from May to the end of 2022.
Turning our attention to 2023, the Ministry has been allocated almost D129 million to spend in 2023. This equates to 0.59% of the Government’s Local Fund Expenditure for 2023.
According to Mrs Jaiteh Ceesay the “Ministry was fully established last year May 2022 and [has] been assigned the responsibility of overseeing the Public Service. Focusing mainly on coordinating development management and administration of government policies, systems and also to deliver responsive public service.”
“The overall mandate is derived from the government’s vision of having a high-performing, professional public service responsive to the needs of the Gambian citizens”, she enthused.
Speaking on establishing the structures of the new Ministry, the Deputy Permanent Secretary says their Ministry has completed the recruitment phase and is composed of a number of existing institutions under it. Mrs Jaiteh Ceesay says “the Ministry of Public Service [is composed of] — the Personnel Management Office (PMO) already in existence. We also have the National Records Office as well as the Department of Strategic Planning that was under the Office of the President. They’ve all been reallocated under the Ministry of Public Service. For this new Ministry, it’s not going to be business as usual”.
The next publication will focus on the Gambia’s Performance-based management systems and President Barrow’s pledge to ensure Public Servants’ progress files submitted to their office within 48 hours.