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Public service has job security

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th June 2009 03:00 AM

“I WANT to work in the public sector because I will have all the free time to do all my other projects like studying and running my business,” a colleague told me. That statement made me think that working in the public sector is a bed of roses.

“I WANT to work in the public sector because I will have all the free time to do all my other projects like studying and running my business,” a colleague told me. That statement made me think that working in the public sector is a bed of roses.

By Vision reporters

“I WANT to work in the public sector because I will have all the free time to do all my other projects like studying and running my business,” a colleague told me. That statement made me think that working in the public sector is a bed of roses.

According to Nandanan Kannapulakkal of Future Options, a private recruitment firm, government jobs are perfect for a person if he/she wants to have job security because once you get one, you are likely to keep it for a long time unless you decide to leave. However, sometimes, public servants are fired.

The public sector is also ideal for people who want a 9.00am to 5.00pm job.
“I have been a public servant for the last 30 years and can assure you that there are many people with high-blood pressure due to over-working.
Sometimes, they have to come back on Saturdays to finish up their work, so you can’t say they are lazy,” Simon Muhumuza, the spokesman of Kampala City Council, says.

“If you think the public service is lazy, try closing it down for three days and you will see…” Muhumuza stresses.
But Norah Njuba Bwaya, the executive coach of Coach Africa, says: “It often seems promotion in the public service is not based on performance but on how one meets ‘demands from higher levels.’ The public servant is not motivated by performing well.”

Bwaya says many people in the public service do not even take performance enhancement programmes seriously, while some of them regard them as merely the means to getting their per diem (allowances). The per diem compensates for their low salaries.

She says there are systems in the public sector but they are not followed, adding that the public service does not readily respond to changes in the environment like private firms.

Bwaya says work ethics of civil servants are not good since they don’t work like they want to develop a carrer.
State-run companies sometimes do not start their workday on time. On weekends and public holidays, parastatals close down, while some employers go for lunch and never come back.

But Muhumuza says: “These days, the public service has its own programme called Results Oriented Management (ROM). One no longer hears much about ‘public administration,’ which used to be the case.”

“You can’t compare the principles of the private sector, which are profit-maximisation and minimisation of costs with the public service, which is judged by the services it provides. Would you advocate for minimal costs when constructing a road?” he asks.
“Or would you cut costs in garbage collection by not doing it regularly?

There is no profit and loss bottom line for the public service because its purposes are different,” he says.
According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2006/07, the public sector pays lower salary compared to most private companies. To make matters worse, there are delays in remitting the salaries.

Muhumuza agrees, saying the private sector pays more than the public service.

Muhumuza says many public employees are leaving for the private sector due to the pay, adding that people opt for the public service after failing to get jobs in the private sector.

Also, getting a promotion takes a longer time than in the public sector since there is a lot of bureaucracy.

Kannanpulakkal says state-run companies do all the big military and scientific projects because people do not work for money but are there to fulfill their goals and develop ideas.
Jimmy Kidega, a pediatrician, says in parastatals people have rights.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation’s website says government jobs provide retirement benefits, an incentive, which enables a person to retire with a peace of mind.

Public service has job security

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