The newly gazetted Public Service Bill seeks to give more powers to the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), including all disciplinary action against public employees who commit an act of misconduct.
Under the new Bill, the PSP shall be the head of the public service.
The Bill, if passed by Parliament in the next sitting, is likely to stoke a fight between Government and trade Unions representing public employees.
Section 52(1) states that disciplinary action against an employee who commits an act of misconduct shall be prompt and in accordance with the rules of the natural justice. It further goes on to state that the procedure to be followed in respect of a disciplinary action shall be as may be determined by the PSP.
Section 53, which talks about punishments that the PSP may impose in respect of misconduct by officers lists reprimand, stoppage of increment for a specified period, deferment of increment, an immediate reduction of salary,
Clause 83 amends section 63 by increasing the penalty for disclosure of information without written authority, by an employee or other person from P500 per six months or both to P30,000 per six months or both.
Further it replaces “Minister” with “Permanent Secretary to the President” as the person who may grant such authority.
Meanwhile, the secretary of the council shall be appointed by the PSP to the President from amongst employees of the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM).The Bill further proposes that the DPSM shall act as the Secretariat for the council.
The Bill also restricts representatives of trade unions admitted to the Bargaining Council to public officers.