From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Feb 23, 2017, 17:00

Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU)








On Wednesday 1st February 2017, the Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU), in the Office of the President, engaged Parliamentarians on  Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey, the Pay Reform Component of the Sierra Leone Pay & Performance Project.  The objective of this engagement was to introduce  Parliamentarians to the work of the Ghana Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (GFWSC) which is providing Quality Assurance on the ongoing Job Evaluation and Labour Market exercise being implemented by Government of Sierra Leone. The GFWSC is advising on the legal and operational issues involved in the Job Evaluation and sharing the Ghanaian experience with Parliamentarians.


This engagement was held at the New Brookfields Hotel, New England, Freetown. The occasion was chaired by Mr Cyril Juxon Smith, the Director of Public Relations, Parliament. The PSRU was represented by Madam Sidratu Koroma, and the Ghana Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (GFWSC) represented by their CEO,  George-Smith Graham; Mrs Eva Addo, Director of Salaries Grading, Re-grading and Job Evaluation and their Consultant, Mr Benjamin Osei.  Other arms of Government included the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, represented by the Minister of State 2, Dr Patrick Conteh and the Judiciary, represented by the Justice of Courts of Appeal, Justice Reginald Sydney Fynn.


Minister of State 2, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Patrick Conteh making a statement


Parliament was represented by Hon. Members of the Committee on Political & Public Affairs; Defence and Presidential Affairs; Finance & Economic Development and Labour & Industrial Relations and representatives of the Clerk of Parliament.


The Commission has supported GoSL since 2014, undertaking Quality Assurance on the Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey exercise and advising of any corrective action to be taken by KPMG, the Consultant for the Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey Exercise. The Commission went through this exercise several years ago following which they re-structured Ghana's public service Pay & Grading systems.

Cross-Section of Parliamentarians at the engagement


The Engagement focused on the importance of the Job Evaluation and how best the Ghanaian experience could help to remove bottle necks and proffer suggestions for corrective action to GoSL.


The Chairman in his welcome address thanked the representatives from the Commission for honouring the invitation to Sierra Leone. He accentuated the importance of Pay Reform in transforming Sierra Leone in to a middle level status economy. The Chairman also said that the Job Evaluation is not new to Sierra Leone, but however, it is a herculean task that requires a lot of dedication and commitment. He said the reason for the specific engagement with Parliamentarians is to carefully listen to and deliberate with the GFWSC on the Ghanaian experience on Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey. In concluding, the Chairman said he hoped that this time the long awaited Job Evaluation would be completed successfully.


CEO Ghana Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Mr George Smith Graham Making his presentation


In her opening statement, the Director PSRU thanked the Commission for their assistance to Sierra Leone and also extended her appreciation to the Hon. Members of Parliament for their participation. She emphasised that the Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey was a very important aspect of Pay Reform, aimed at addressing anomalies in the Pay & Grading system. She also mentioned that upon completion of the Job Evaluation Exercise in Ghana, by the GFWSC the ratio of payroll:tax revenue has gradually reduced from 75% to 42% through several consultation and negotiations between the Commission (representing Government of Ghana's public service) and Labour Unions. In concluding her welcome address, she said the engagement with all present was because they had various roles to play in the implementation of Pay Reform and that she was sure the participants would ask searching questions of the GFWSC team.


In his presentation on the overview of the Project and progress made so far, the Head of Programmes (HoP), PSRU, Mr Shahid Korjie explained that in June 2012, the GoSL and the World Bank signed the US $17 Million Pay & Performance Project for Sierra Leone, to finance the achievement of priority pay and performance reforms in the Civil Service which are needed to achieve the economic growth and poverty reduction goals of the country. Despite the challenges, the Project has, to date, contributed US $11 Million to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. He further informed all that the Project has achieved its recruitment target of filling in 805 priority vacancies (the "Missing middle") in accordance with Annual Recruitment plans (2012-2015) and approved recruitment procedures. In the area of capacity building and training, 38 Mid-Senior staff level from PSC, HRMO, MoFED/AGD and PSRU have benefitted from a General Leadership and Management Skills training delivered by the Kenya School of Government and the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, UK. Trainings were conducted in Kenya and Ghana. The Head of Programmes, PSRU further informed the Parliamentarians that whilst the Recruitment component has been completed, the Project needs to move forward in the areas of Pay Reform and Performance Management. He stressed on the importance of the Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey (JE&LMS) being completed in order that a new Pay and Grading Structure be developed for the Civil Service. He informed members that the JE&LMS is being done by the KPMG, the lead consultant and coordinated by the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO). According to Mr Korjie, the consultants have started the Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey exercise and an inception report has been submitted by the consultant to HRMO and PSRU for review.


Dr Patrick Conteh, The Minister of State II  in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, re-affirmed his Ministry's commitment to the Pay and Performance Project.  He said there are a host of problems affecting Pay Reform in Sierra Leone, notably the absence of a central body to determine pay structure in the country.   He re-affirmed that the Ministry will continue to work relentlessly to solve the current pay disparities in the Civil Service to ensure fairness and equity in the system. He thanked the team from Ghana and hope that the experience sharing process will help facilitate the ongoing Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey in Sierra Leone.


According to Hon. IB Kargbo one of the fundamental issues affecting the Civil Service is its low remuneration. He said many professionals had left the shores of Sierra Leone searching for greener pastures overseas.  He also mentioned that the creation of Agencies and Commissions and other subvented agencies with different salary structures and benefits are mainly responsible for the disparity and distortion on the wage bill. He concluded that if Sierra Leone wants to run effectively and efficiently; the way in which the level of autonomy to set pay with which agencies and commissions were established must be given a second thought.


Hon Brig. Kes-Gboya, asked whether Teachers, the Police and the Army have been included in the Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey exercise and enquired whether they have been placed under the Civil Service Structure.  

Hon. Capt. Sorie raised the issue of duplication in pensions in the benefits system, whereby individuals could be receiving several pensions. According to him, Government should regulate the benefit system in the country to save the wage bill.


The Justice of the Court of Appeal, Mr Reginald Fynn reiterated that there are vast disparities in salaries in the Civil Service that extends to the Judiciary. He said he is optimistic that the Job Evaluation and Labour Market would be applicable to the Judiciary in the exercise.


These questions and concerns were ably answered by the Director, PSRU and the Minister of State II, MOFED. All the Parliamentarians and other representatives recognised the timeliness and importance of the exercise.


The Engagement was climaxed with the presentation of the Ghanaian experience by Mr George Smith-Graham, the CEO, Ghana Fair Wages and Salaries Commission. He said the purpose of the Commission's visit is to help Sierra Leone ease through the Job Evaluation without experiencing some of the pitfalls Ghana went through. He furthered that, listening to some of the questions and concerns raised, shows that Sierra Leone and Ghana share similar problems. He said when the Commission was set up, they looked around for similar Commissions to no avail As such Sierra Leone is fortunate to be receiving best practices on the Job Evaluation from another African country.

According to the CEO, his Commission has helped a number of African countries, including Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya in developing models that worked well for them. However he stressed that the model developed for Ghana is only unique to Ghana and Sierra Leone should develop its own bespoke model.

Since independence, Ghana has really struggled to have a unified Pay Reform structure, but this was resolved through the establishment of the GFWSC, said the CEO. He re-affirmed that the only way to be able to determine Government's Payroll and the relative worth of a job is by conducting a Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey. Job Evaluation is about the job and not the individual, he emphasised, stating that when they started the public service had about 137 different salary structures.


He said he is happy that at this stage the institutions involved in the exercise are engaging Parliamentarians to get their views and buy in of the exercise. In Ghana, the Parliamentarians were helpful in making the exercise easy, because they believed in the outcome, through constant engagement during the exercise and helped in passing some of the related laws in Parliament.


In concluding, he encouraged Government and Sierra Leoneans to take the exercise very seriously. He also advised that Labour Unions should be highly involved in the exercise to get their acceptance of the exercise. After the presentation, the Hon. Conteh stated that the importance of the legislative arm of Government cannot be over emphasised and on that note the Job Evaluation exercise should be incorporated in to the Constitutional Review process to establish its legality. He also asked whether the migration of the different wage bill into a single spine would lead to redundancies.


These questions and concerns were ably answered by the CEO, Ghana Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.


Parliamentarians commended the PSRU and the Commission and welcomed more interactive session on effort aimed at structuring the civil service in Sierra Leone



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