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World Bank Restructures Somaliland Civil Service Project

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Hargeisa(HNN):-The Somaliland Civil Service and the World Bank have quietly restructured the Civil Strengthening Project into a second phase for what the World Bank described as “closing the financing gap resulted from the CSSP design stage underestimated the cost of doing business in Somaliland”. To date, 5.63 million of the project’s 10 million US dollars have been spent.

The new Project Information Document published by the World Bank on December 14th describes major shortcomings in the previous phase of the project including the fact that the Civil Service Commission has not included more than 8,500 employees in the HR Audit it completed in July 2018.

The Civil Service Commission launched the headcount in January 2018 in a glitzy event attended by President Muse Bihi Abdi, one of the first events he attended as he took office.

According to an interview with the BBC Somali Service, the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission at the time, Mr. Sharmarke Geele stated that the total number of government employees stands a little over 14,000 with 75% of them being male. Mr. Geele has been reassigned as a Deputy Ambassador to Somaliland’s Representative Office in Kenya.

The Civil Service Commission has paid $566,700.00 to a company called Extra Insight for the headcount activity.

No official explanation can be gleaned from the World Bank’s restructuring documents for how more than 60% of the government employees could be missed by the headcount activity that the Civil Service Commission has touted as a major accomplishment in previous press releases.

Contractor Name Description Amount (US$)
Extra Insight Hr-auditing Firm For Head Counting Activity $566,700.00

The restructuring of the project comes at a time when the Civil Service Commission is in the middle of recruiting subject matter experts for specific government ministries and agencies in a program known as the Talen Management Program or TMP.

In the restructuring, the number of recruits is reduced from 80 to 57 with a projected cost saving of 600,000 US dollars to be reallocated to other areas of the project.

The main purpose of the Talent Management Program is to give the Somaliland government the ability to compete for critical talent with other employers in Somaliland especially the UN, aid agencies, and large private companies such as Telesom and Somtel.

The World Bank restructuring document also peels back the curtain on an embarrassing episode where the Civil Service Commission and the Somaliland government had not adequately budgeted for TMP staff salaries.

“The GoSL did not include in their CY2020 budget sufficient amount to pay all CY2020 salaries and allowances for TMP staff. In its letter to the Bank dated September 19, 2020 (attached), the Government has requested the Bank to advance US$108,786 to cover salaries and allowances of existing TMP staff for the rest of CY2020, i.e. for September to December 2020; and salaries and allowances of new TMP staff to be recruited in December 2020.” is how the restructuring document described the current challenges in the Civil Service Strengthening Project.

The impact of the Civil Service Strengthening project in raising the bar on the civil service in Somaliland is negligible at best despite the 10 million dollar price tag.

So far the Civil Service Commission has not implemented the most basic mechanism of managing employees’ records.

High-ranking government officials who spoke to the Somaliland Chronicle on condition of anonymity, describe the CSC leadership as wasteful and being too focused on PR stunts that include piloting a headcount project in local governments despite missing more than 60% of government employees in a headcount that has cost $566,700.00.

In addition, the Civil Service Commission has concluded a year-long study looking into what it will take to create a healthcare program for government workers.

Although the Civil Service Institute has been in operation for a long time and has trained thousands throughout the years, Chairman Farhan has recently unveiled a program with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) that would identify the areas where government employees need training. The program comes at a whopping cost of 670,000.

Part of the contract with GIMPA is English language training for civil servants conducted by ACH a British firm subcontracted by GIMPA that according to the inception report trains 3000 refugees a year in basic English literacy and coaches new employees for Starbucks and other unskilled laborers.

The sweeping changes to many government agencies including the Civil Service Commission announced yesterday, that President Bihi has sacked the Deputy Chairman and the Executive Director of the Civil Service Institute.

It is unclear if the changes at the Civil Service Commission are related to the World Bank’s restructuring of the flagship project due to financial and other structural challenges.

When asked about the reason for the restructuring and the new agreement that it will entail, Chairman of the Civil Service Commissioner Mr. Farhan Adan Haybe stated that there is no restructuring and that this is simply an extension of the project term due to the COVID-19 pandemic.