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Several years of conflict in Liberia destroyed the Civil Service and ruined a merit-
However, Liberia’s first post-
Smaller Government, Better Services
To achieve this end, in June of 2008 the government of Liberia adopted its Civil Reform Strategy: “Smaller Government, Better Services,” which consists of the following critical components:
• restructuring and rightsizing
• pay and pension reforms
• developing leadership
• gender equity in the Civil Service
• improving service delivery
The Civil Service Agency’s Civil Service Reform Directorate (CSRD), inaugurated in July 2009 and placed under the Senior Executive Service (SES) Program, is responsible for driving reforms across government – as required by the Civil Service Reform Strategy (CSRS) Document. It is important to note that the CSRS is a corollary of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), which serves as the strategic plan or road map for the transformation of Liberia to becoming a capable developmental state. Since its inception, the Reform Directorate has continued to demonstrate the required capacity to achieve these desired goals by reinforcing strategic interconnectedness, coordinating and supervising five thematic areas that include:
• mandates and functional reviews
• capacity building
• pay and pension
• wage administration
Significant Results to Date
The Directorate has made significant progress in improving service delivery by reforming the public administration system – which remains the single central and pivotal driving force of the Civil Service Agency (CSA). With a little over two years of rigorous work, the government has achieved major benchmarks that place its reform agenda on an irreversible path. Some of the gains made thus far include:
1. 1. Coordination with a biometric center that ensures removal of duplicates and ghost workers on the government payroll, thus helping to authenticate the number of government employee hours billed, and significantly reducing allowable cost. The biometric system has been linked to the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), which the CSA and Ministry of Finance (MOF) are expected to coordinate.
2. Harmonizing various pension laws that offer attractive, post-
3. Completed wage administration that encapsulates 10 grades instead of the previous 15, with various steps in each to allow for upward progression and seniority in the civil service and where the minimum wage of a civil servant stands at US$ 100.00 per month.
4. Completed Mandates and Functional Reviews (M&FRs) of the Ministries of Labor (MOL), Agriculture (MOA), Commerce (MOC) and Public Works (MPW) and the CSA in close collaboration with the Governance Commission.
5. Begun engaging a cluster of ministries – including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health and Social Welfare – in the conduct of their M&FR processes.
6. Spearheaded the formulation of a Re-
7. Conducted capacity-
8. Conducted specialized training of Civil Service staff in merit-
9. Spearheaded the Induction of the Internal Reform Committees (IRCs) of some ministries in preparation for the M&FRs to familiarize them with the approach and methodology adopted by both the Governance Commission and the CSA.
10. Supported the development and popularization of the Code of Conduct for public officials within the three branches of government. The importance of the Code of Conduct to the emergence of a “New Liberia” has consequential implications for civil duties and responsibilities, decency and the dignity of work. The President, Madam Ellen Johnson-
Other Noteworthy Achievements
In addition to these strategically important results, the governance reform group has worked effectively with Dr. Quan Dihn, an international consultant, to complete MF&R reports on the Ministries of Labor and Foreign Affairs, and completed an exercise on the merging of the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the Ministry of Agriculture into the new structure of the institution, as well as the development of an implementation framework for the execution of M&FRs across Ministries Agencies and Commissions (MACs). At the completion of these reports, it is anticipated that the relevant steps will be taken as a measure for the full implementation of the recommendations. Moreover, the group has:
• Worked along with Mr. Yaw Adu-
• Another undertaking of the CSRD was planning and holding the first African Public Service Day in Liberia. The African Union’s 6th Conference of African Ministers for Public/Civil Service (CAMPS) held a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in 2010 and adopted June 23rd of each year as African Public Service Day to be observed by all member states of the African Union (AU). Liberia being a member state, the Conference of African Ministers of Public/Civil Service has nationalized this thematic area of the Ministers’ program and executed it through a government proclamation commemorating the day, while at the same time popularizing it by holding an elaborate event on June 23rd, 2011. The objectives of the celebration were to reflect on the gains and challenges of public service in Africa (by each member state, in particular); generate a sense of identity and accelerate the level of awareness of the rapid reform of the Public Service across Africa, and to recognize public servants for their outstanding services. The program was held on June 23rd 2011 at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville and witnessed by several members of the cabinet – the Ambassador of the African Union accredited near this capital, dignitaries, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), civil servants from across line ministries, agencies and commission, donor partners, among others. The keynote speaker for the occasion was Dr. Tunji Olaopa, Federal Permanent Secretary of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.
• The CSRD led an effort to produce a FAQ brochure, intended to enlighten and enrich the minds of civil servants on the “Dos and Don’ts” of the Service, as well as promoting the mirror image of this critical arm, greatly associated with the human capacity of government. The project is near completion. There were, however, several validation meetings held with heads of thematic areas including Capacity Building, Pension, Performance Management, Employment Services, General Administration and Rural Outreach. These validation meetings were spearheaded by the CSRD and included major inputs from colleagues and professionals that provided more weight to the output. Reference sources such as the Standing Orders, Civil Service Act, Labor Law, etc., were all used in ensuring that answers obtained therein were not based on personal interpretation of the Act creating the Agency or conjecture, but rather critical and authoritative relevance.
The CSRD still sees the need to continue this project due to its significance in informing not only civil servants but also the Liberian public on critical issues regarding the workings and intricacies of the system. It participated and played relevant roles in regional and continental bodies and represented the CSA as the line agency to these bodies. The Agency has taken on the roles of co-
Liberia’s contributions include involvement with: a) the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration in Africa, b) the Long-
Special Project Initiatives
The Civil Service Reform Directorate (CSRD) has been fully involved in the Government of Liberia Special Projects, intended to fast-
• Spearheading the construction of the first of four regional offices in Tubmanburg, Bomi County as part of decentralizing services to rural civil servants under our Rural Outreach Program. The Office in Tubmanburg will provide services to civil servants in Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Bomi Counties, respectively.
• Working along with Messrs Daylue Goah, Media Consultant, and George Werner, Technical Advisor to the Director-
• In an effort to enhance capacity and effective leadership in government for middle and senior level government officials, the CSRD in close collaboration with the Capacity Building Coordinator, Mrs. Wanneh Clarke-
• The CSRD serves as a focal point collaboratively with the Chair of the Pillar Dr. C. William Allen. The Pillar convenes periodically to review deliverables implemented by the sub-
• And lastly, the CSRD held sensitization workshops for universities on “Taking Civil Service to the Universities.”
Oblayon B. Nyemah is Head of the Liberian Civil Service Reform Directorate. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Donnell Scott, Director of the Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) Program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and the American Society for Public Administration’s (ASPA) International Director, has worked with the author in Liberia and contributed to this article. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
Better Government, Better Services in Liberia
By Oblayon B. Nyemah