Nepal | February 23, 2020

Staff shortage in provinces, local bodies

Rewati Sapkota

Kathmandu, October 2

The delay in endorsement of the Federal Civil Service Bill may prolong the problem of staff shortage in provincial and local governments.

The government had framed Civil Servants Adjustment Act and Regulation to transfer staff from federal government to provincial and local governments. But these legal documents are not adequate to resolve the problem of staff shortage faced by provincial and local governments, Dinesh Thapaliya, secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration told the State Affairs Committee of Parliament today.

The act and regulation were introduced assuming federal government staff would willingly relocate themselves to provincial and local governments once they were directed to do so. But that did not happen, and many central government staffers are still resisting the government’s instruction to move to sub-national governments.

There are ambiguities in the two legal documents, according to Thapaliya. For example, the act and regulation have not clearly spelt out whether a section officer who has been transferred to provincial or local government can later go on to become secretary of the central government. The act and regulation don’t clearly mention whether staff transferred from the central government to provincial or local governments can later join the central government.

To resolve such problems, Thapaliya asked whether the central government was willing to provide incentives to central government staff to move to sub-national governments.

The constitution states that three tiers of government will have their own administrative structure. Based on this provision, the Federal Civil Service Bill has been prepared by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration and forwarded to the Cabinet for approval. The provincial and local governments should also frame their provincial civil service bills and local civil service bills. However, the Parliament has been adjourned till winter, which means the Federal Civil Service Bill will not get endorsed anytime soon.

This implies that the central government, which is already behind its mid-January deadline to complete 80 per cent of the task related to staff integration in the three tiers of government, will take more time to settle the issue.

A central government study shows that local governments will require 58,000 employees and provincial governments will require 21,399 employees.

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has allowed local bodies to hire technical staff on their own on temporary contract. Based on this directive, many local bodies hired technical staff. But concurrently, the central government also started sending technical staff to local bodies. Local bodies then protested and prevented the technical staff sent by the central government from attending office and performing duties. Their argument was that staff transferred by the central government was a stopgap measure to fulfil staff requirement for a temporary period and that they would be relocated later, creating vacant posts in the local bodies. This tussle between the central and local governments has also prolonged the problem of staff shortage at the local level.

 


A version of this article appears in print on October 03, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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