The world Bank Mission Team led by Gregory (Sr. Governance and Public-Sector Specialist and Task Team Leader), Nyabicha Omurwa Onang’o (Financial management consultant and Gary Reid (Public Sector Management Consultant) visited Mogadishu from 15-17th January 2019 to hold discussions with the respective agencies* together with the Project Coordination Unit to review progress made so far and plan for implementation of Year 4 activities. On the first day, the participants touched on several project areas;
(Footnote *Ministry of Finance; Office of the Prime Minister; Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs; National Civil Service Commission; and the Project Coordination Unit.
The Civil Service Training Programming at SNU/SMPA
In the absence of the previously recognised training institute (SIDAM), in 2015 the government decided that there was a need to train the Somali civil servants at the training school for Management and Public Administration at the Somali National University (SNU) which was established successfully under the CIP. This training school is fully equipped to conduct training programs for the civil service employees of the government and was intended to be an acting institute.
After visiting five neighbouring countries to enter external partnership with, the FGS negotiated with Kenya School of Government (KSG) and signed an MoU implementation framework and agreed the scope of the training programs with the list of courses and other capacitating and strengthening aspects of the newly established FGS training school at the university.
However, the project coordinator Hassan A. Diriye, stated that the implementation of the MoU framework agreement with KSG was delayed due to procurement technicalities and some of the technical elements were not yet discussed. The two senior consultants representing the Bank team joined this mission to expatiate this matter further with FGS officials to advise on the modality used in a similar assignment between South Sudan and KSG.
As the project started its forth year, government officials from MoLSA, NCSC and the SNU all expressed a dire training need for the government civil servants and hence to speed up the implementation of the training programs.
In order for a single public training institution not to create a monopoly where quality and performance can be compromised, it was advised to also allow other providers to get accredited to offer several different training programs.
Underlining that the quality of the training should be a central part of the design of the training school (SMPA at SNU), making sure the training provided are tested and monitored on a regular basis.
For the purpose of sustainability, it was recommended that the FGS decides on a financing option of the training school beyond such establishment support from a project-based initiative. One option could be that the government includes and allocates a training budget component under each institution annually where the school can tap into such training sources and create tailor-made or customised training for each particular institution depending on each of their specific training needs.
The need to hire a Policy Team
The Minister of Labor H.E Salah A. Jama together with senior ministry officials and the World Bank mission team held a brief side meeting aimed as a follow-up on the status of the HR policies that were drafted by different consultants through the CIP project and the specific policy team that was previously requested as to aid the ministry’s capacity to further review and develop administrative rules and regulations from the drafted policies.
The minister noted that the sequencing of the most crucial policies that would lay the foundation was not considered at the inception of the project. Due to the absence of a policy team while a number of policies were developed, these were not institutionalized. For instance, the first HR policies developed by the project were Retention, Code of conduct and Career development policies etc. Whilst they are important, these should have come much later, leaving more important policies hanging in the balance. The key policies remaining are the Pension policy (which is ongoing) and a Pay & Grading and realistically without a Pay and Grading policy, one cannot and should not have a Career Development policy in place.
As for the current government’s pay scale being temporary and not passed by a law, since 2006-2007 all civil servants are on a static pay scale on the basis of the current limited grade structure which is why it is crucial that the government has a Pay & Grade policy for attracting, retaining and promoting its civil service employees.
The project coordinator explained that the procurement process for the consultants to develop a Pay and Grading Policy had started long ago and it is still not concluded as the procurement process was at its final stage of the opening financial bid by the qualified consultancy firms.
The Minister of Labor has emphasized the importance of having a policy expert team for the ministry to offer technical and professional support to review the policies in place and develop administrative rules and regulations as well as advice the ministry in different aspects for reforming the civil service. He welcomed the recent engagement and commitment by the Bank’s new task team lead and believes that the project had until recently only scratched the surface.
Proposed Priority Capacity Needs
As part of the regular project implementation mission support from the Bank, technical discussions with the beneficiary institutions were held about the project progress and the priorities in place. The CIP Project Coordinator had given project updates on the project’s key milestones & achievements in 2018 as well as the key challenges and recommendations.
The project coordination team has been working closely with the project beneficiary institutions (BIs) for the preparation of their capacity priority needs for 2019 in the following areas;
- Development of Institutional polices, SPs, policies & procedures, etc.
- Organizational systems improvements
- Supporting the MDA-based reform team initiatives to improve the performance of their MDA
- Management and employee’s capacity needs
- The Needs of Supplies (office furniture, ICT equipment & Vehicles)
Most of the institutions proposed the 3 most important priority capacity needs for their 2019 work plan. These should later be complete with separately budgeted work plans for each beneficiary institution, to be consolidated with the main work plan for the core implementing agencies.
The World Bank HRM consultant advised on issues of training, the training needs identified by the BI’s showed a short timeframe to deliver the needed training. A wide range of training might exceed the duration of the project and may end up leaning on external training providers. It might be a good idea to capture training events that the School of Management & Public Administration at the Somali National University cannot provide.
The World Bank stressed that proposed activities shall be realistic and achievable within the FY and referred to recommendations from policy documents and strategic plans. They should also benefit largely from activities that remained incomplete from the previous years and should keep to the yearly projected disbursements (as stated in the PAD) plus any unspent amounts from the previous year.
Establishment of HRMIS for the government civil service employees
The Prime Minister is in support of setting up a centralized HRMIS for the entire FGS as soon as possible. The World Bank team expressed that they are glad to hear that the government is moving forward with the idea of a HRMIS establishment for the civil service employees as a matter of priority, benefitting institutions as well as the stakeholders involved which would improve decision-making for managing human resources in a more automated way in the technology era.
The World Bank’s HRM consultant Mr. Reid expressed that he would be ready to provide background support if needed with his experience and expertise on public sector reform with several issues such as linking up the HRMIS of the government’s current financial management system (SFMIS).
It was proposed this would be a priority on the agenda for the next Troika coordination meeting with the Steering Committee. And stressed that with a Public Reform Strategy and a Pay and Grade policy in place, the system would be easier to integrate.