Government is in the process of finalizing a comprehensive pay policy which will provide a framework for systematically and holistically addressing issues related to remuneration in the public service.
Secretary to the Cabinet Joshua Kanganja said government recognizes the value of a well paid and motivated workforce hence the formulation of a comprehensive pay policy.
Dr. Kanganja was speaking in a speech to launch the activities leading to the Africa Public Service Day, which falls on Tuesday June 23, 2009 under the theme ‘Delivery of Quality Service for Sustainable Development”.
This years theme has four sub themes that include citizen focus, involvement of non- state actors , innovation in service delivery and enhancing service delivery through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) .
He said this year’s Public Service Day is being cerebrated against a background of a number of challenges that have adversely affected the delivery of public services.
He stated that the global economic meltdown which has led to a scaling down of budgetary allocations to ministries and institutions has consequently constrained delivery of public service.
Dr. Kanganja added that HIV and AIDS pandemic, poor work culture, incidents of corruption, theft, mismanagement and misapplication of public resources and uncompetitive conditions of service are some of the factors that have continued to adversely affect the delivery of quality services by the public service.
He said government in addressing these challenges is implementing among others measures the Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability Reforms (PEMFAR) which are aimed at enhancing accountability in the management and utilization of public resources.
“In addition, an HIV and AIDS prevention and mitigation strategy for the public service has been developed and is being implemented to mitigate the effects of the pandemic,” he added.
He said the Public service code of ethics is in place which government shall use to inculcate core values and positive work culture in the public service on continuous basis.
Dr. Kanganja has since called on the public service to be part of the solutions to the many that effect delivery of quality services.
“I call upon my fellow public service workers to stand up to the challenge of serving our masters, the public with integrity, objectivity, respect and impartiality,’ he said.
And commenting o this year’s theme, Dr Kanganja said it demands that the public service goes beyond mere delivery of services by striving for excellence, innovation and stakeholder participation if sustainable development is to be achieved.
He said the theme is calling on the public service to provide an enabling environment for increased individual and private sector involvement in the economic and social development of the country.
Government in line with the theme has already developed charters that have been institutionalized in the ministry of lands, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and immigration department.
The Secretary to the Cabinet disclosed that the charters are ready for launch and implementation in the ministry of tourism, environment and natural resources, public service management division and the departments of national registration , passport and citizenship.
He said the centres are aimed at addressing the needs and expectations of Zambian citizenry in a more focused and satisfactory manner.
“ In he same vein, customer service centers are being established in government institutions and are already operational in ministry of lands, department of immigration , ZRA and Patents and Companies Registration Office (PACRO).
He further stated that government is equally responding to the call for involving non – state actors in matters of national development by providing an enabling environment for the participation of the church, the civil society and the private sector in the provision of basic social services.
He pointed out that because of such measures, two initiatives have won the prestigious United Nations public service awards for improved delivery of services .
These are the improved maternal and child health care under the Masaiti District Health Management Board in 2006 and the Integrated mobile community VCT and Health service under the Itezhi – teshi District Health Management Team.
He however stated that a lot still remains to be done in view of the national goals and aspirations as well as best practices from other countries .
This years activities has been spread out to all the nine province and will include roads shows from tomorrow to 22 June in Lusaka and provincial centers on stipulated days and a march past by representatives of various government ministries and institutions.
In Lusaka the public service workers will march from Manda hill footbridge to Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) .
The wards will be awarded for transparency , accountability and responsiveness in the public service, improving the delivery of services, fostering participation in policy making decisions through innovative mechanism and advancing knowledge management in government.
June 23 was designated as Africa Public Service Day by UN and African Governments as a day to acknowledge and appreciate the critical role of the public service in national development.