398 civil servants reach retirement age

PSC Chairman, Martin Mahe

By Jane Joshua

Over 300 civil servants will be made redundant this month.

“The total is 398,” Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Martin Mahe, told Vanuatu Nightly News’ Kizzy Kalsakau in an exclusive interview.

“We have issued the notices, they will be paid two months’ severance before the GRT kicks in next year.”

He noted that it is a big number.

“The PSC is working hard to ensure there is a proper succession,” said chairman Mahe.

“Some of the positions require technical skills, we will maintain staff occupying these positions on a contract basis, to allow the transfer of knowledge to younger public servants, in order to permanently release them from service.”

All of the 398 civil servants have reached retirement age-55 and above as of October this year.

The head of the PSC mentions that the bulk of the retirees are from the Ministry of Health (MoH), followed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“147 employees from the MoH will be issued with retirement notices, followed by staff under PMO,” he said.

“It comprises all employees within the government ministries and constitutional bodies and totals up to over Vt1.6 billion.”

He said if an employee wishes to retire within 20 or 30 years of service and spends time with his family, it’s his right but health is a very important sector for the country.

“Some of the 147-health staff who will be retiring, are senior nurses,” said the PSC chairman.

“The Nursing School in Vanuatu does not have the capability to produce a big number of new nurses every year.

“We give them retirement now, before the GRT.

“We can then get them on contract, for specific periods next year, before we can completely release them from service.”

Chairman Mahe also mentions 290 new contracts in the MoH.

“The new contracts involve employees, who have been employed on contracts for many years.

“In fact, they do not have any position in the structure.

“But their services are important, and we keep renewing the contracts over the years.

“Now, with the third phase of the implementation of the health structure, we have 119 contract staff that will be appointed (as of Monday) to the 219-contracted staff, who will be made permanent on the same date.

“We also have 46 permanent staff who will be transferred to the new structure, so we will meet the Government’s timeframe.

“The Commission and MoH was asked to do away with contracted staff, there has been a delay but it is a huge task and there are lot of outstanding issues.”

When questioned on the replacement strategy of the retirees, he replied:

“Currently, we have the PSC’s internship program. We encourage new graduates to come and talk with us about their area of interest.

“We offer him job for a year and HR Unit will closely monitor his performance.

“If he meets the requirements, then the status is changed from temporary to permanent and he gets the job.”

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