Civil servant recruitment must be ‘fair, just, qualified and open”: PM

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has told ministries and other state entities to ensure that recruitment of new civil servants this year is carried out in a ‘fair, just, open and qualified’ manner.

The premier recently issued Decision No. 5 allocating a certain number (quota) of new civil servants to each state department and giving guidance about the recruitment process.

New officials must be selected through an examination and recruitment must only fill essential jobs. This would prevent unnecessary and excessive recruitment as has happened previously, leading to accumulated excessive numbers of civil servants.

Laos currently employs 184,871 civil servants, representing 2.8 percent of the entire population. This figure excludes soldiers, police officers, contracted officials, and employees at state-owned enterprises. The 2.8 percent ratio is higher than in many countries in the region.

The stricter scrutiny advised in seeking qualified state employees comes as the government is striving for effective use of personnel, while seeking to reduce the excessive number of civil servants.

This year, the government has cut the quota for new civil servants by half. This means only 1,500 people will be recruited compared to 3,000 the year before. The quota excludes those to be recruited at the Bank of the Lao PDR.

In his decision, Mr Thongloun told state departments to prioritise recruitment in provinces and districts. This is in line with the government’s policy to cut the number of surplus officials working in central departments and provide more officials in outlying regions.

Priority is given to the education and sports sector which will be allowed to recruit as many as 936 officials, representing more than half of the total.

The second largest number has been allocated to the health sector, which is permitted to employ 220 new civil servants.

Among ministries and equivalent organisations, the Prime Minister’s Office was allocated the smallest number (quota) of just four, followed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, and Ministry of Science and Technology, which have each been given an allocation of five new officials.

Provincial departments will receive a new quota from their line ministries, despite the fact that each province is also given a quota, an official at the Civil Servant Management Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs told Vientiane Times yesterday.

The official explained that the small quota given to provinces is for the provinces to recruit staff for departments that do not have line ministries, such as provincial administration offices, as well as mass organisations that were not given a quota by their central line agencies such as the Lao Women’s Union and the Lao Federation of Trade Unions.   

Mr Thongloun prohibited all state departments from employing staff on a contract basis.

Speaking on Wednesday at the two-day meeting of the home affairs sector to conclude work carried out in 2018 and discuss the work plan for 2019, Mr Thongloun also forbade all state departments from practicing nepotism in the recruitment of civil servants.

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