Editor's Comment

Reshuffles good for service delivery

Government complex.

IF THE civil service is the engine of national development, then permanent secretaries are cogs as essential as pistons, without which the whole machinery is as good as dead.
This is why these senior civil servants must always be on the top of their game of service delivery and drive respective ministries at the desired pace.
It is in this light that Zambia should see President Edgar Lungu’s decision to make some changes at permanent secretary level: transferring some, dropping others and elevating two.
As the appointing authority, the President has deemed it fit to reshuffle some of the permanent secretaries.
The whole exercise of transferring, promoting and indeed dropping has to be viewed in the same light as some of the Cabinet reshuffles we see.
Juggling permanent secretaries improves efficiency and service delivery. The respective ministries get renewed energy and this is good for the overall government efforts to deliver services to expectations of the public.
The President, as head of Government, uses the tested principle of movements and reshuffles. Changes are necessary to avoid lethargy and complacency.
Therefore, changes at any level, in this case at permanent secretary level, are designed to energise the officers.
The transferred and promoted officers bring new skills and competences to do a job better, especially the introduction of newer perspective to the position.
It eliminates lethargy and boredom of being in a job for too long.
It also exposes as many people as possible to different jobs, thereby broadening the skills pool and entrenching a succession plan.
For the likes of Danies Chisenda, who is leaving his position as Director-General at the Zambia Public Procurement Authority, he has to take time to understand the operations of the Ministry of National Development and Planning.
For the newly-promoted ones such as Chanda Kaziya who was Labour Commissioner and now the new permanent secretary in the same ministry, as well as Danny Bukali, who was Western Province deputy permanent secretary and now taking charge, they have to rise to the challenge to ensure productivity is not just lip service.
They should bear in mind that Government intends to introduce performance management in the civil service and abandon the old civil service culture of just making time at the office.
The transferred and in-coming controlling officers should also avoid unnecessary trips in the name of familiarisation tours.
Each ministry and province has directors, provincial and district officers. It does not require the permanent secretaries to traverse the country.
Luckily, a ban on travelling is in place. It is a huge cost to Government.
People promoted such as Mr Bukali and Mr Kaziya leave vacancies that shall be filled by lower people thereby fulfilling professional growth and motivation in the civil service.
For Paul Chanda (Ministry of Mines), David Shamulenge (Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock) as well as Emelda Chola (Ministry of Energy), whose contracts will not be renewed, their services can, and should, be utilised elsewhere.
They have evidently gained massive experience which they can use either for their personal benefit, or for the continued benefit of the country through activities such as businesses, consultancy and lecturing.
What better consultant or lecturer would one want other than one who speaks from experience?
They can look back with pride that they have run a good race and are better equipped for their new endeavours.
In the ministries, the civil servants should give their new permanent secretaries all the support they deserve. Success will be collective.

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