Tue, 11 Apr 2000

Health ministry aims at efficiency

JAKARTA (JP): In a bid to catch up with the government's drive to increase efficiency in the bureaucracy, the Minister of Health discharged on Monday dozens of high-ranking officials.

Minister Achmad Sujudi said while the ministry needed many more professionals than officials, fewer people were interested.

He asked that the 54 officials discharged from their administrative positions give up their jobs "with a big heart."

Achmad declined to confirm whether the lack of attraction for the much needed professional staff was the relatively small allowances.

The government has taken the controversial decision to hike allowances of high-ranking officials by a dramatic average of 1,000 percent. Allowances for the four highest echelons of the civil service range from Rp 9 million to Rp 350,000 under the new policy.

Also on Monday, the minister installed 50 high ranking administrators transferred from other posts as part of the reorganization.

Among others, the ministry's secretariat general lost 30 officials.

Achmad said the 54 officials who were no longer in administrative positions would be given new jobs according to their expertise.

Achmad said the professional positions included doctors, dentists, pharmacologists, epidemiologists, entomologists, and public health workers.

It would be better to have more professional staff in the ministry, the minister said.

"Professional staff are (the real) producers, that's why there are many such positions to be created," he said at the ceremony.

For instance, he said, the ministry still needed librarians and statisticians.

Achmad said that the decision to reorganize the ministry was in line with the "rapid and drastic" government policy to increase civil servants' professionalism.

Political observers have noted the government's intention to reform the bureaucracy, to reduce centralized power.

Achmad asked that officials attempt to solve problems "instead of becoming part of the problem," but he did not elaborate. (08)