Almost half of the country’s civil servants earn a monthly salary of less than MVR5,000 (US$324), statistics from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) have revealed.
While the number of government employees who earn up to MVR4,499 a month increased from 9,914 in May to 11,000 in September, the number of employees who earn between MVR5,000 and MVR10,000 (US$ 648) decreased from 14,380 in May to 13,580 in September.
Those earning between MVR10,000 and MVR15,000 (US$972) increased by 30 percent in September while those who earn higher than MVR15,000 rose by 96 percent.
Speaking at a three-day conference organised jointly by the CSC, Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Auditor General’s Office last week, Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim criticised civil servants for providing “poor service” to the public.
Most civil servants have poor attendance records, arrive at work late, do careless work, and take leave or holidays excessively, Nazim said, which were “unacceptable.”
Recent statistics from the CSC showed that civil servants rose from 24,742 in May to 25,010 in September – representing over seven percent of the population.
Female civil servants outnumber males, with 13,280 women and 11,730 men, while 35 percent of government workers are based in the capital Malé.
The highest number of civil servants work under the Ministry of Education (9,955), followed by the Ministry of Health (7,090) and local councils (4,454).
Nazim suggested that the “only solution” to the shortcomings of the civil service was bringing amendments to relevant laws in order to ensure employees could not take leave for four or five months a year.
Aside from pay rises and promotions, Nazim said employees could also be motivated to work better as a team, advising reforms to rules for promotions to provide incentives to civil servants.
Reviewing the organisational structure of offices could also improve efficiency, he added.
“I would like to believe that employees of the civil service can get the public’s love and respect when they work for it,” he said.
Addressing foreign participants of the conference in English, Nazim said the “key role of the civil service is to provide public service in an efficient and empathetic manner.”
With democracy in the Maldives “in its infancy,” Nazim said the country was facing “multi-faceted” and “increasingly complex” challenges and stressed the importance of reforming the civil service.
He urged participants of the conference to consider “the geographical nature of the Maldivian archipelago and the nature of service we have provided while addressing the challenges and reforming the civil service structure.”
According to the CSC, the purpose of the conference was improving the service offered to the public and focused on three main themes.
“They were organisational development and review, human resource management and development, and establishing a civil service with integrity,” the CSC explained in a press statement.
Former chairman of India’s Union Public Service Commission Professor Dev Prakash also took part in the conference, delivering the keynote speech.