The annual commemoration of Civil Service Week, gives us the opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions of civil servants to nation building; and express to them our gratitude for their dedication and commitment to the country.

Over the years, some of our civil servants have been harshly criticized for the quality of their service delivery. While we recognize that in some cases, there may be merit in the public’s complaints, many of our civil servants serve with a high degree of professionalism and distinction; and I want to commend them. There are increased expectations and demands from the public for an efficient and effective civil service that meets their needs; and we must deliver on those expectations. This is the driving force behind the Government’s public sector transformation process – achieving a leaner, more cost-effective and efficient public service.

I recognize that many civil servants view the public sector transformation process with some anxiety, as there is the perception that there will massive job losses throughout the service. However, I want to encourage persons not to view the process as a job-cutting exercise, but one that will create a public service that is a ‘stepping stone,’ not a ‘stumbling block’ to national growth and development.

One of Government’s concerns is Central Government wages to GDP ratio, which at the end of the 2010-2011 financial year, stood at almost 11% of GDP. We have a fiscal responsibility to ensure that this ratio is reduced to 9% by March 2016. Therefore, we must insist on greater productivity and increased contribution to GDP from our public sector.

I want to say to our civil servants, that you have been entrusted with a very important task, as the purveyors of Government’s programmes and policies; and the success or failure of these policies, rests in part in your hands. I encourage you to tackle your task with a drive for excellence, commitment and determination. Let us together, make the civil service the place of choice to work and give service.

This week has been especially dedicated to you; and I want to congratulate those civil servants who will be receiving awards for years of dedicated service.

I also wish for the organizers, an even more successful Civil Service Week 2011.

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