President Michel's address to the First Cabinet Meeting after re-election and swearing-in of Ministers, Tuesday 22 December 2015
Tue, 22 December 2015
I would like to begin the meeting by expressing my thanks to the people of Seychelles who have placed their trust and confidence in me, and I wish to reiterate the statements I made in my inaugural address on Sunday that I shall ensure that this Government delivers on its promises to its people as contained in our manifesto.
I have heard loud and clear the message of our people, through the recent elections, that they are not satisfied with the level of service delivery from Government and public institutions. This problem has to be addressed immediately. I want every Minister to undertake an audit of the processes within his or her Ministry or Department and the agencies falling within their portfolios, and identify the obstacles preventing proper service delivery. I want Ministers to report to me on the measures being taken to overcome these obstacles.
Ministers should take personal responsibility for monitoring the progress of work in all the institutions within their portfolio. We know that there are many devoted public servants in our organisations. Let us ensure that they receive the support, training and resources to discharge their responsibilities. It is through their efforts that our ultimate goals are achieved, through synergies with civil service and the private sector.
Let us establish systems of working that ensure that all and every single worker contribute in an efficient and effective way to achieve the objectives of our organisations. Let us monitor these processes, and recognise the contributions of those who excel in service delivery.
At the same time, individuals who fail to perform in their responsibilities should be counselled, and where necessary disciplined, so as to avoid delays and disappointments in our service to the public. I shall not tolerate mediocrity, laziness, or wastage in Government. I shall also not tolerate the politicisation of the public service.
I made a pledge to our people on certain areas of focus in my first 100 days in office. These included:
· Increases in retirement pensions from this December;
· Interest-free loans for repair of houses of elderly citizens;
· Making home improvement and housing loans more widely accessible;
· Raising the ceiling on housing loans;
· A 13th month salary to be paid from January 2016;
· A new gratuity scheme for public servants from January 2016;
· A First Job Scheme for those leaving school from January 2016
· Compensation and gratuity for former members of the Defence Forces;
· An ex-gratia payment to servicemen who served in the RFA;
· Extension of the graduate housing scheme to 5 years and increase in their allowance
· Extension of the laptop scheme to cover S4 students from 2016;
· Allowances to all students in post-secondary educational institutions;
· Free access to medical services for patients recommended by private doctors;
· Assistance with PV installations for residential properties.
In addition, Government will give top priority to address the problem of illegal drugs, placing emphasis on assistance to victims of drug abuse while dealing firmly with traffickers.
There are certain areas, such as Education and Health where the concerns of the public are especially acute. The Ministers concerned should take steps to urgently address their problems.
I would like, once again, to remind Ministers of the need to communicate with the public, and sensitise the public to the programmes of work being undertaken on their behalf. There is a lot of good work being done that people are not told about. There are also problems for which a proper explanation is not given, leaving room for others to create doubt, suspicion and rumours. Our Ministries have public relations officers, let us make sure they are properly utilised.
In concluding, I want all Ministers to take personal responsibility for service delivery in their respective organisations. Monitor your organisations well. Deal with problems that arise. Stop sending the public from one door to the other. Don't wait for people to come and see the President or the Vice-President before their problems can be solved.
For my part I pledge to give you all my support, but I shall expect you all to work very hard. We have 97 days left in which to deliver on our first pledges. Let us make sure we do not fail in these tasks. Let make sure that our longer 5-year programme is also implemented in an efficient and timely manner.
Remember that our mandate comes from the people of Seychelles, and they alone will be the judge of our actions.
Bon courage, and let us get down to work!