this week: Let them eat pastizzi...
Heads have to role
We often say that Malta is 50 years behind the rest of the world and
while there is some truth in the matter, it is nothing to be proud of.
The restructuring of certain sectors of our economy has been mooted
for years but progress has been extremely slow. While Malta hesitates
other countries will be getting ahead and in the new larger market we
cannot afford to be left behind.
The civil service is so large and all pervading in Malta that bureaucratic
hurdles are not easily overcome and attempts at modernisation can be
hijacked by civil service inefficiency. Malta has managed to make an
all important first psychological step in recognising that civil servants
have to deliver. The pressure is on for heads of departments to ensure
that colleagues draw up plans and strategies and work towards stipulated
The realisation that the civil service has to pull its weight is the
first step, but it is not enough. While government workers do not have
to face the public to take and keep their jobs, there are people who
are in a position to make them responsible for their actions.
Politicians are elected not only to ensure that government departments
work smoothly and efficiently, but also to take action where people
are not accountable.
If Enemalta plans to meet electricity demand but we are now experiencing
power and water cuts, someone is surely responsible. If the MEPA board
takes a decision outside its remit, it should be held accountable. If
rents owed to government are meant to be collected but are left wallowing
in a sea of figures long forgotten, someone should be held responsible.
Alfred Sant did take a shot at bringing civil servants to book by ensuring
that they actually are at their place of work when they should be, that
was surely a step in the right direction. A small step, but definitely
the way to go. Time keeping is essential, but it is delivery of service
that Malta is crying out for.
When business plans are prepared for each government department at the
beginning of the year it should be pointed out that failure to perform
will result in the chopping of heads. Unless this threat is in place
those civil servants who do not live up to expectations know they will
get by with, at the most ,a small slap on their wrist. Professional
performance evaluations are essential and accountability is central
to ensuring that standards are maintained. Malta and this government
has talked, talked, talked. We are sick of all the talking. We need
to move towards the deliver, deliver, deliver mode.