Local government duty call evokes poor response

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
With a total of 21,716 officials already in service, local federal units across the country require some 16,000 staffers more

Jun 3, 2018-With just over 100 staffers working at central offices applying for transfer to the local federal units, the government will find it hard to mobilise required staff at the local level.

According to officials at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, 100 to 150 central government staffers have applied to work at the local units.

On April 16, the ministry asked civil servants to submit their applications by May 1 to their respective offices by listing 15 preferred local units in five districts. After the government failed to fill the vacancies at the local level, applications from interested staffers were invited.

Around 8,000 applicants, most of them by those already serving at the local units, seek transfers to their preferred destinations at the local level, according to the ministry.

In March, the Cabinet approved a total of 37,257 positions for municipalities, rural municipalities and District Coordination Committees. With a total of 21,716 officials already in service, the local level requires around 16,000 staffers more.

The ministry believes that around 8,000 staffers could be arranged for the local bodies from the dissolved district offices and those that have seen staff cuts.

“There will still be a shortage of some 8,000 staffers at the local level,” said Suresh Adhikari, spokesperson for the Federal Affairs Ministry.

In case the central government fails to depute officials in the required numbers, local governments will be able to recruit staffers on contract basis.

But the local governments will have to manage necessary resources for the purpose. The federal government has not given them funds for hiring additional staff.

“Since all the local units don’t have enough resources to recruit officials, there has to be some sort of arrangement from the central government,” said Adhikari.

Ministry officials said the number of offices of the central government could not be reduced as expected due to strong pressure from the political leadership and staffers working there not to dissolve them.

“For instance, we had expected various departments under several ministries to come down to 30 but the organisation and management (O&M) survey maintained the number of such departments at 53,” said an official.

On the recommendation of the O&M survey, nine departments have been scrapped, according to the ministry. The government aims to deploy the surplus workforce by June to the provinces and the local level. From the new fiscal year, salary would not be released for more officials than determined by the O&M survey for the central government offices.

This means the government must mobilise surplus staffers to the provinces and local government offices.

Secretary Dinesh Thapaliya said the government would try to send as many staffers as possible to the local level. “There will be a balanced distribution of government staffers,” he said. This will be a temporary arrangement of officials. Permanent adjustment will be made once the government completes the O&M survey of offices at the central, provincial and local levels.

Published: 03-06-2018 07:12

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