August 11, 2012 (JUBA) - At least eighty four top level constitutional post holders will lose their jobs if the proposed changes in the size of the government get the approval of South Sudan’s Cabinet, a senior official tasked with drafting a structural review said Saturday.
- South Sudan cabinet members swearing in in September 2011 (ST)
The move aims to reduce the cost of South Sudan’s large civil service in the face of an economic crisis triggered by the stoppage of oil production in January. The oil dispute with Khartoum has since been resolved but it is unclear when oil exports through Sudan will resume.
Oil exports accounted for 98% of government income before the shutdown.
In another austerity measure the amount received by the governments in South Sudan’s 10 states will decrease in 2012/2013 fiscal year.
The draft paper on the structural review, a copy of which Sudan Tribune has seen, recommends that management of some special programmes in the office of president and his deputy should be relocated to other ministries and institutions.
The executive draft points out that office of the president has directorates which attend to special needs some of which includes an establishment which deals with widows and orphans needs, while others attend to women and girl child education. There is also an office which deals with traditional and decentralisation affairs as well as students and overseas scholarship.
The paper aims to decongest some institutions which have performed badly. South Sudan has been independent since last year and is struggling to efficient institutions to run the country which has some of the worst development statistics in the world.
Independence was granted as part of a 2005 peace deal which Khartoum that granted South Sudan self rule and the right to secede.
“Under the office of the president there is also the function of implementing special programmes. Each special programme is under the leadership of its own directorate. This means that there are four directorates alone for each of the areas where the special programmes are implemented.”
A senior cabinet official told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that report was still a "proposal" and adding that it may not be adopted.
“We have received it but it’s still an internal matter not yet for the public,” the official said while asking Sudan Tribune not to “provoke” him into giving details of the draft report because “it’s still in the kitchen.”
He also declined to give details of the likely effect of the proposed changes on the civil servants working under the programmes lined up for restructuring. The draft report recommends that the "role of implementing special programmes should therefore be relocated to relevant ministries and institutions in line with the National Development Plan.”
Critcis of the Juba government often complain that power is to centralised in Khartoum and the Presidency.
Also likely to be affected is the Relief and Disaster docket in the office of the president, which the draft report says duplicates the functions of other implementing agencies such as ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management as well as ministry of social welfare.
“It is therefore recommended that the role of relief and disaster docket in resettlement and disaster management should remain at coordination of the implementation with support from the line Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Development where this function should relocate.” This could imply that the two directorates currently running this docket are either scrapped merged with other institutions.
Under the proposal the new directorate would drop the word “disaster” and be given the new title: “Preparedness, Resettlement and Refugees.”
Amongst others, the Ministry of National Security is to revert to the Office of the President as a directorate.
According to the draft, bureaucrats suggested that the Ministry of Security might not be a good government structure for communicating issues to the public, recommending that technical teams to inform the nation on national programmes and policies; while communications department in the office of the president takes charge of information through technical reports and research.
The ministry of information and broadcasting currently handles this docket of disseminating government information but the new proposal suggests that it could be scraped or its scope reduced. In the new changes, the office of the presidential advisor on legal and constitutional affairs is to be strengthened to “exert its Constitutional authority to ensure that ministries and other public institutions implement programmes as mandated and planned.”
The reforms are reportedly aimed at enabling the government to establish a national monitoring and evaluation policy that would institutionalise management and deliver results in government activities.
“The objective and purpose of the new changes is to identify and formulate a way of addressing the embedded inconsistencies, weaknesses, duplications and performance gaps in government”, says official.
His draft, however, faults government for failure to do critical things like data validation, review of documents from relevant sectors, analysis of operational and management systems and implementation issues and building reliable data base on monitoring and evaluation database. It recommends transfer of some civil servants with expertise to the states and counties to support coordination and implementation of the development programs.
The report gives hints to power struggles in government that have undermined delivery of services. It suggests that an evaluation of critical national programmes shows that they have not been effectively carried out, especially because of overlaps between ministries and institutions.
“There is evident data to suggest that there has been institutional power struggles at the centre of government especially between, operating the planning and budgeting system with all the inherent authority and buttressed by its austerity Budget…” reads the report: “
In practice, it has been observed that some ministries lack powers and clout to demand compliance as compared to other institutions. The report recommends Public Institutions to ensure effective compliance to performance. While the report appears aimed at reducing public management costs and bring in efficient service delivery, insiders say the move is laced with politics.
They see no reason for demanding relocation and scraping some programmes, arguing that regardless of which ministry a programme is based, it is the role of the Ministers to coordinate and implement them.