27 Feb 2003

Fiji cabinet agrees on public service strategies

4:54 pm on 27 February 2003

Fiji's cabinet has agreed on 26 strategies for cutting back the public service to achieve the government's aim of what it call right-sizing.

These include strict control on the running costs of ministries, firm ceilings on staff numbers and the offer of voluntary redundancies to superfluous staff.

In addition, the Cabinet has agreed to outsource activities where the Government finds it difficult to retain professional staff and a review of the compulsory retirement age of 55.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says the aim of the measures is to reduce the running costs of its public service and improve its quality.

The government expects the numbers in the public service to fall by ten percent by 2005.

But a senior public servant has pointed out in the media that 20 percent of the top echelon of the service take home more than 80 percent of the total salaries paid out, even though a good number of them are already receiving one or two pensions.

He says in view of the rising number of the unemployed and the negative impact of government policies, it would be prudent to put out to grass some of these old and impotent members of the service.