Youyi Building, Brookfields, Wednesday 30 August 2023 – Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister, Dr David Moinina Sengeh, has begun an on-the-spot check on the sign-in registers of ministries, departments, and agencies as part of his role to ensure that public officials do not only collect salaries but report to work on time.
He said the move demonstrated government’s willingness to achieve its ‘Big Five’ agenda, one of which was public sector reforms, including changing the mindset of public officials on as and when they should report for work, how ready and committed they were and when were they supposed to leave office.
Dr Sengeh also told human resources managers at the various ministries in the Youyi Building that they had to make sure all public servants signed in and signed out on the weekly staff attendance book, adding that any staff that reported for duties after the government’s time was up, must be issued with a query letter.
After a three-question letter for lateness or leaving the office without any valid excuse, the offender would be suspended and their salary would be suspended too. He warned that the minister and himself must be copied on all query letters.
“This is a demonstration of public responsibility and accountability. If we are to develop this nation, we should take our work in the public sector seriously. One of the best ways we can fix our country is through efficiency in government service delivery — when to report for work, how prepared we are to do our work, and when we leave our offices.
“To achieve this, we need to hold each other accountable. So, part of my visit today was to get first-hand information on happenings because we have heard lots of rumours about them. We were told that even though I was cleaning the building with others, staff at the Youyi Building hardly report for work on time, and some don’t even report for work at all,” the Chief Minister noted.
Minister Sengeh said that based on the many rumours and the government’s eagerness to reform the public sector, he was prompted to commence the on-the-spot check on all sign-in registers. He expressed how disappointing and a little bit frustrating it was that some people were trying to cover up for their absent colleagues, especially when the book indicated differently.
“Public officials must know that they made a commitment with the government to always show up to work on time. So, for me, what I will start doing, going forward, is issuing an on-the-spot query letter.
“We are going to digitise query letters now with the pin code of each public servant, and when they are not at work, we are going to send their query letter to them on the spot. This will address the issue of a Permanent Secretary not writing query letters on time or being accused of being selective in writing queries to staff,” he disclosed.
He said he would be pushing the responsibility now to public servants, pointing out that “it is not about punishment or for the sake of punishment, but it is intended for public servants to be fully aware of the fact that there is a repercussion for failure to go to work on time,” he warned.
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