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Youth unemployment a threat to the country – Miti

SECRETARY to the Cabinet Dr Simon Miti is warning that high youth unemployment poses a threat to the country and needs to be addressed urgently.

Meanwhile, Dr Miti has directed all government institutions to submit to his office the implementation roadmaps for general efficiency and cost effectiveness of public service measures by September 27.

Dr Miti also observed that many youths did not proceed to tertiary education.

“If this situation is left unattended to, it will result in more young people being frustrated and becoming vulnerable to unproductive lifestyles and social vices such as alcohol, substance abuse, immoral and criminal behaviours. This situation poses a threat to the country and needs to be addressed urgently,” Dr Miti stated. “To this effect, ministries, provinces and institutions and their respective clusters should evaluate their various strategies to leverage on every opportunity to harness the demographic dividend. The aim is to facilitate creation of more jobs and empowering our youth with necessary skills for entrepreneurship. The Cluster responsible for the human development pillar should lead in the process of developing a specific and deliberate programme to address the majority of the young people who do not proceed to tertiary education. In this regard, each ministry and public institution is directed to contribute to the development of the programme in line with their respective mandates. Where necessary, the defence forces through Ministry of Defence should be involved in the development and implementation of the programme.”

In a circular dated September 10, 2019, Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Simon Miti stated that all permanent secretaries and heads of public institutions were required to demonstrate their commitment to securing the general efficiency and effectiveness of their ministries, provinces and institutions in the delivery of services.

“Reference is made to the subject above. As you are all aware, Cabinet this year made a decision to implement austerity measures to address the fiscal challenges, effects of climate change and respond to other external factors impacting negatively on the performance of our economy,” he stated.

Dr Miti stated that the austerity measures were intended to among others, stabilise and restore growth in the economy.

He stated that in view of the prevailing socio-economic situation in the country, it had become imperative for the public service to strengthen its focus on “managing for results; doing more with less” in the execution of Cabinet decisions and implementation of programmes.

“To this effect, all permanent secretaries and heads of public institutions are hereby required to demonstrate their commitment to securing the general efficiency and effectiveness of their ministries, provinces and institutions in the delivery of services,” he stated.

Dr Miti stated that in addition to the measures already introduced through the various Cabinet Office circulars, there would be travel ban for senior officials from government and quasi-government institutions.

Travel bans for permanent secretaries, chief executive officers and directors introduced in June this year would continue to apply until further notice.

Dr Miti stated that this would reduce government expenditure on travel both locally and abroad.

He stated that only in rare and convincing circumstances would there be exceptions to the rule. For international engagements, missions abroad should be utilised and supported fully for representation.

“With regard to the sponsored trips, controlling officers should decline requests to travel where funds for payment of out-of-pocket allowance are not available. This entails that the payment of out-of-pocket allowance will be applicable to all categories of staff on sponsored programmes subject to availability of funds. (b) Harmonsiation of Salaries and Conditions of Service for Statutory Bodies and Grant Aided Institutions. Government has embarked on the review of mandates and streamlining of salaries and conditions of service for all statutory bodies and grant aided institutions,” Dr Miti stated. “This is to ensure efficient delivery of services and reduce pressure on the treasury from the current unsustainable wage bill. To this effect, all institutions are hereby directed to provide complete and accurate information to the Remuneration Division at Cabinet Office as and when requested to do so to facilitate the smooth execution of the on-going exercise.”

Dr Miti noted with concern that some public officers were not operating from stations where their payroll identification numbers have been allocated.

He stated that that situation was causing distortions on the payroll and depriving the affected stations of the needed human resources for service provision.

“In addition, some ministries have been undertaking recruitment of new employees without Treasury Authority. Accordingly, controlling officers are hereby warned to desist from committing government to spending resources on emoluments without Treasury Authority,” Dr Miti stated. “The Public Service Management Division, Accountant General, and Smart Zambia Institute are directed to work with relevant Service Commissions to clean-up the payroll and deal with erring officers accordingly. (d) Audit of Mandates and Organisation structures of Ministries, Provinces and Public Institutions. I am directing the Management Development Division at Cabinet Office to undertake an audit of mandates and structures of ministries and public institutions with a view to optimise utilisation of existing structures as opposed to creation of new institutions at a huge cost to government.”

Dr Miti stated that with the mantra “managing for results, doing more with less”, the Policy Analysis and Coordination Division (PAC) in Cabinet Office had been directed to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of implementation of all Cabinet decisions and directives.

He stated that to ensure that the general public receives timely, accurate and consistent information on government policies and programmes, there was need to streamline communication in the Public Service.
Dr Miti stated that ministries with topical issues of national interest should be proactive and engage the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

“To this effect, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services is directed to expedite the development of the government communication strategy,” he directed.

Dr Miti stated that each ministry and public institution would be required to demonstrate performance on key result areas every quarter.

He stated that the performance reporting and contracts for permanent secretaries shall include aspects of contract and debt management, implementation of Cabinet decisions, and audit results.

Dr Miti stated that addressees were thereby reminded that as heads of ministries and institutions, they were critical to “managing for results, doing more with less”.

” Where you face challenges in the implementation of these measures, you are advised to inform the office of the Secretary to the Cabinet in writing accordingly. Addressees are hereby directed to submit to the office of the Secretary to the Cabinet the implementation roadmaps on the above measures by Friday, 27th September, 2019,” stated Dr Miti.

The circular was copied to Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (A), Cabinet Office, Lusaka, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (FED), Cabinet Office, Lusaka and Auditor General, Office of the Auditor General, Lusaka.

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