Government could be saving up to K144 million ($188 729) a year when eight principle secretaries (PSs) retire as planned without being replaced, The Nation has learnt.
Currently, the number of PSs in the civil service has dropped further following the retirement of two career civil servants—Bernard Sande and Chris Kang’ombe.
Apart from two, six more PSs are expected to retire in the course of the year; confirmed Minister of Information Jappie Mhango last week.
Assuming that government does not reverse its decision not to hire any more PSs, government could save up to K12 million ($15 727) a month or K144 million yearly in packages once all the eight PSs leave the public service.
The monthly package for a PS is nearly K1.5 million ($ 1966) comprising a salary of K1 085 882 ($1 423.17); airtime worth K35 000 ($46), medical insurance contribution of K11 800 ($16) and a fuel allowance of K367 300 ($481.38)
Of the six who will retire later in the year, five will leave by October 2016 and another one by December this year.
The Nation also understands that in 2017, about 10 PSs are expected to retire.
That will bring the number of PSs to 23 and save government nearly K15 million ($19 659) monthly or K180 million ($235 911) annually if the cap on PSs holds in line with the Public Service Reforms agenda.
Before the Vice-President-led Public Service Reforms Commission (PSRC) started pushing for changes, the country had 96 PSs.
That figure dropped to 41 last September and was trimmed further when PSII positions were abolished to become chief directors.
The move received criticisms from various stakeholders who felt that there would be no change in terms of cost savings.
However, Chilima, who described the move as ‘normal attrition’ which would in turn save government a lot of money, had government chosen to fire the PSs instead of phasing them out through retirement.
The retiring Sande is a former diplomat who was deployed to the Office of the Vice-President as secretary and commissioner for disaster management.
Kang’ombe, who has held portfolios, including as PS for Health, was at the time of retirement in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Following Sande’s retirement, Ben Botolo, who was secretary for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, has replaced him. Botolo will also double as secretary for Disaster Management.
Botolo, who has since reported for work at the Vice-President, described the move as a normal transfer, which comes with the exigencies of duties in the public service.
The Nation has also learnt that Kester Kaphaizi, who was chief director responsible for energy, has risen to secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining while Stuart Ligomeka, who was chief director for housing in the Ministry of Lands and Housing, will become PS.
In an interview last week, Mhango said following the retirement and redeployment of some PSs, they would not be replaced as one way of implementing civil service reforms of trimming the number.
Describing the retirements as mandatory, Mhango said more should be expected as senior civil servants reach the age of retirement.
“The chief directors are filling the positions which have become vacant with the retirement of the secretaries. In this way, no new PSs will be hired as one way of implementing reforms in the structure of the public service,” Mhango confirmed.