Census Causes Delay of Gov’t Reform Effort Delayed

Plans to analyze the function of each of the government’s ministries have been delayed by several months to focus resources on finishing a census on civil servants, officials said Wednesday.

The analysis and census are part of the government’s plans to reform the civil service and public administration—a requirement most donors have cited as a crucial move to improve governance.

About 70 percent of the census has been completed, and the results are expected to be available by the end of March, said Hongly Ngo, program manager for administration reform.

The census has taken a lot of time because questionnaires given to all civil servants must be verified to ensure no one is giving false data, Hongly Ngo said.

“We work hard to ensure we have no ghosts,” said Hongly Ngo, referring to a term given to soldiers who don’t exist, even though government salaries are still paid in their name.

More than 2,000 civil servants were already placed into retirement or cut from the payroll last year. More staff reductions and reorganizations are expected.

The Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Rural Development and the Secretariat of Civil Service are the three ministries that will be the first to reorganize as part of a pilot program.

Despite support from the UN Development Program and the World Bank, the government needs more money to integrate surplus civil servants into society and to fund a core group of people who will oversee public administration reform, Hongly Ngo said.



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