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Govt Recruits Fewer Officials, Prioritises Teachers And Doctors

Source: Vientiane Times

More than 10,000 people have been nominated by state sectors across the country for hiring as new civil servants but the government has decided to recruit only 1,600 officials in 2021.

The new quota of state employees has been allocated based on the government’s financial capacity to pay their salaries and allowances amid rising budgetary tensions.

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Mr Khammoune Viphongxay told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that the government’s spending on administrative costs and salaries for state officials accounted for more than 50 percent of the country’s total expenditure.

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The government wanted to allocate more money for development projects to boost economic growth and generate job opportunities, he said. 

“This year, we took on 2,000 officials but we will hire fewer people next year because we want to reduce the excessive number of officials we currently employ,” he said.

According to a recent Prime Ministerial Decision, the largest number of new civil servants will be allocated to the Ministry of Education and Sports (535 new officials), of whom 530 will be teachers.

The second largest number of new officials will be allocated to the Ministry of Health (321), of which 301 will be doctors.
Xaysomboun province will receive 40 new officials, the Ministry of Finance will get 36, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport will be given 31, the Ministry of Home Affairs will receive 26, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment will have 26 new officials.

The government says the recruitment of new officials must be carried out in a transparent and accountable manner through examinations and in line with the actual needs of state sectors.

The recruitment of new officials must be based on their specialised area of study to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the ministries to which they are assigned. 

The number of civil servants has fallen in line with the government’s policy to reduce the excessive number holding positions.

In 2018, the number of civil servants was 184,000, accounting for 2.8 percent of the population. At present the figure has fallen to 178,821, accounting for 2.4 percent of the total population.

Mr Khammoune attributed the decline to various factors, including the government’s structural reform and the merging of departments to streamline the administration.

The government is attempting to restructure state organisations and increase officials’ responsibilities, saying that if one person can do more and better work it reduces state spending.

In 2017, 5,000 new civil servants were recruited, with the figure falling to 3,000 in 2018, and further to 1,500 in 2019.
About 4,000 government officials retire annually which is higher than the number of the new officials employed in recent years.

The government is strictly enforcing the law which requires that officials who have reached retirement age (55 for women and 60 for men) leave their posts.