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Malta: Government Committed to Improving Efficiency in Public Sector – PM
Source: independent.com.mt
Source Date: Monday, November 29, 2010
Focus: Information Access, Health
Country: Malta
Created: Nov 29, 2010

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi yesterday presided over the inauguration of the Centre for Development, Research and Training in Floriana.

The centre falls under the responsibility of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and offers courses in management, IT, policy development and languages, among a plethora of other subjects, for which public sector employees can register for free to improve their skills and enhance their qualifications.

Some courses even lead to professional or academic qualifications.

Co-financed by the EU, the costs of the centre, based in a building which was previously abandoned and derelict, amounted to €3 million.

Dr Gonzi, who took a small part in an IT course lesson after he entered the building, commented in a speech he gave afterwards that, sometimes, “people do not appreciate the strides in progress the government is making in the public sector field” and pointed out that the government has recently improved efficiency in the public sector, without increasing costs, by as much as 2%.

“Moreover, Malta is also one of the leading EU countries to offer quality and efficient government services online. For instance, people no longer have to queue for a long time to pay their bills, licences or tax forms, as they can do so through the internet.

“With the onus now on lifelong learning, it is the government’s wish for this centre to stimulate innovation, research and creativity. I have often commented that the only resource Malta has is the human resource, and hopefully this centre will go a long way towards improving the skills of public sector employees. It’s never too late to learn,” said Dr Gonzi.

Philip von Brockdorff, the centre’s head manager, said that not only has the number of people who enrolled for courses increased by as much as 25% in recent months, but employees who have successfully completed a course at the centre have often gone on to have better jobs with better pay.

Possibility of reforming summer time working hours

When later asked whether the government might improve efficiency in the public sector by looking into changing the hours of public sector employees, with the majority working half a day during the summer months, Dr Gonzi outlined that “summer working hours were not as they once were.

“Hours of certain employees in certain jobs have increased in summer over the past few years, and this has led to an increase in productivity and efficiency.

“While admittedly the government might look at the possibility of reforming summer working hours of some public sector employees in the near future, it is worth keeping in mind that, to compensate, most employees who have short working hours in summer have longer working hours in winter,” commented Dr Gonzi.
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