Civil Servants to be Counted and Critiqued

In an effort to trim the ranks of civil servants, the government will start a census next month to determine just how many civil servants there are and how many are actually needed.   

Sok An, minister for the Coun­cil of Ministers, announced the project Monday after a meeting of the administrative reform coun­cil. Overhauling civil service has been a key demand of do­nor countries that want the number of state workers reduc­ed.

“The Cambodian government has the commitment and political will to achieve these strategies in reforming civil service,” Sok An said. “We want an administration that is more democratic, transparent and well-managed than the system we have had for dec­ades.”

The government has counted its civil servants once before, in 1995. Since then, 18,000 em­ploy­ees have been taken off the government payroll, Sok An said.

But there are still some 164,000 civil servants.

The census should give the ad­ministrative reform council an exact number. A separate functional analysis will tell the council how many of these positions are actually needed, Sok An said.

Some governmental institutions have up to 2,000 employees but could function properly with just 1,000, he said.

While cutting workers could save money, Sok An asked that the international community help support workers who are laid off or volunteer to leave their jobs dur­ing the overhaul.

“We are greatly concerned about this point,” he said.

About $500,000 has been allotted for the census and functional analysis, which are expected to be finished by February 2000.

The government also is making progress implementing a com­puterized database of civil ser­vants. Launched two years ago, the database contains a comprehensive list of employees, along with their salaries, title and skills. Eight ministries are al­ready part of the database and the re­maining ministries are expected to be added by March 2000, Sok An said.

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