U Min Thu, the Union Minister for the Office of the Union Government, met with staff of the Ayeyawady Region General Administration Department at the Regional GAD office in Pathein, Ayeyawady Region, yesterday.
Firstly, the head of the Ayeyawady Region GAD, U Than Swe Win, introduced the Union Minister to everyone in attendance and explained about the Regional GAD’s processes and performances. The Union Minister then delivered a speech.
Nay Pyi Taw workshop sets stage for GAD reforms
In his speech, the Union Minister highlighted that it has been over three months since the GAD was transferred to the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government. He said a workshop was held in Nay Pyi Taw consisting of current and former GAD staff from 26 to 28 February 2019 in order to initiate reforms that are in line with the President’s directives, the Union Government’s policies, and the political system sought by the people. He said the results from that workshop were combined with recommendations from ministry officials and the advisory team to produce the GAD’s vision statement of ‘Building good administration and mechanism based on the people.’
The Union Minister said the workshop produced four mission statements, namely – proliferating the rule of law and community peace, implementing State Policy, establishing a good administrative system, and carrying out people-centred regional development.
He said it also produced three tasks for reform: (1) reforming policies, (2) reforming regulations and managerial components, and (3) establishing regional development and good practices.
Public service will be streamlined
The Union Minister said the reforms need to be completed within a designated timeframe to make the motto ‘The GAD is a role model for change’ become a reality. He said they are collaborating with ministry officials, the advisory team, and experts to accomplish this.
The Union Minister said a manual for all levels of GAD staff and a code of conduct is underway, while a Regulatory Review Unit will be formed. He said they are discussing with the advisory group and experts to lessen restrictions of make amendments to rules, regulations, and standards in order to provide the public with simple and easy administrative services. He said streamlining public services means creating a system that reduces time spent by the people, lessens burdens, and provides all legally available services and opportunities on equitable terms.
For example, The One Stop Shops (OSS) were set up in July 2015 to get rid of the unnecessary red tape the public has been complaining about, said the Union Minister. He said there are now 316 OSS operating across the nation, which can provide services from up to 15 government departments. He expressed his wish for the OSS not to become an additional unnecessary office but to actually resolve the public’s issues. He said the second step is to decide which facts and documents can be removed, which are truly needed, and for departments to decide on a time period for the procedures that can be announced to the public. He said GAD staff will have greater insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the OSS as they are actually working there.
The Union Minister said OSS needs continued support from the Union Government, Chief Ministers and departments, needs to be decentralized, certain regulations need to be cast aside, and standard operating procedures need to be designated.
Honesty and equity
The Union Minister informed GAD staff that they can submit suggestions through the regional GAD head, the director-general of the GAD, or directly to the ministry. He said they can send suggestions directly to the ministry’s Facebook page and the soon-to-be-launched official website will be able to receive suggestions as well. He said they have plans to use IT technology to keep office records for supporting the e-Government system and designing software and applications for smoother services.
The Union Minister said they are working with the utmost transparency with regard to staff changes and the human resource management system to make it fairer and more equitable. He said the Anti-Corruption Commission is also assigning Corruption Prevention Units (CPU) in ministries as a pilot project. He said his ministry will receive a CPU in the near future to combat, prevent, and reduce corruption.
Enhancing GAD staff’s skills
The Union Minister said there are plans to upgrade the skills for of GAD staff and a main part of this is reforming the Institute of Development Administration which was opened in 2003. He said this will involve restructuring the institute’s organization, consulting with experts and scholars to revise the curriculum and class lessons, and to link with international institutes.
The Union Minsters said he is explaining these processes to the GAD staff as it will implement systematic reform into the department. He urged GAD staff to cultivate a penchant for change, convictions, belief, and endeavours during this period.
GAD staff participation crucial
The Union Minister concluded by saying that the General Administration Department is the administrative backbone of the country and thus, needs to initiate exemplary change to establish itself as a public-centred mechanism for administration. He said we need to firmly build our moral character to be free from self-interest and corruption. He urged GAD staff to meet and discuss with the public, gather their suggestions, and stand together with them.
He expressed his wish for the GAD to follow existing laws, rules, regulations, and procedures without burdening the people. He urged GAD staff to adhere to the policies and procedures of the ministry and the head department while simultaneously striving to improve their daily tasks, become more effective, and reform their tasks and procedures.
Afterwards, GAD staff in attendance submitted requirements to the Union Minister, who gave necessary suggestions and directions and then urged the staff to respect and follow the policies and procedures of the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government.
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)