400 available jobs in the government as of 2017

Compiled by Flo Vanua and Premilla Hinge

THE Vanuatu Government confirmed there will be around 400 new jobs available in the government after the payout of the retired civil servants which has begun this week.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said it is possible there will be around 400 available jobs from 2017 onwards while the government is paying out its retired civil servants.

Mr Salwai confirmed this after handing over to some retiree civil servants their retirement packages this week at the Prime Minister’s Office in Port Vila.

Education Minister, Jean Pierre Nirua, said with teachers alone there will be more than 100 new jobs because the retired teachers tally is more than 100.

Vanuatu Finance Minister, Gaetan Pikioune, said for teachers not on the payroll, the government will start paying them as of January 2017.

Mr Nirua said workers who are on probation who have been appointed by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), but were not yet paid because there is no budget, are also included in this payment as of January. Teachers who have been teaching in the schools without salaries will also be paid.

The ministers said these are new policy initiatives by the current government.

A total of VT 1billion and 30million was approved by the Council of Ministers to cover the first group of retiree civil servants that began receiving their retirement packages this week.

Prime Minister Salwai said the amount covered all retired civil servants for the Vanuatu Government from this first list who have been prioritized as deceased, medically unfit, those who resigned and those who reached retirement age.

“There are criteria, it is not only for civil servants reaching 55 years of work to receive their retirement packages. It addressed only those who were deceased, on medical grounds or medically unfit, those who resigned and those who reached retirement age and up to 65 years of age.”

Finance Minister Pikioune said ‘the money stays in the country’.

“We are investing the money to our own people from this country. Tomorrow it will contribute to the economy of our country,” he said.

He said this is a legal obligation for the Vanuatu Government to settle this outstanding first. Then there will be mechanisms added in place to address those still to be paid.

Meanwhile Minister Pikioune said the other group of civil servants that is still in the system to be sorted out by the government has an outstanding payment of around VT 1 billion.

PM Salwai said these outstanding payments had been there for a long period of time from past governments to recent governments. Most of these retirees who received their retirement packages this week were around 70 years of age.

“There has never been a provision for retirement from the national budget before. This is the first time it was done which was by this government,” he said.

Mr Salwai thanked the retired civil servants who are now actually receiving their retirement packages for their patience.

He said this is a good thing too because it will relax the system – once the retirees are out, new workers come in. He said it reinforced the system by putting in new graduates who are also more educated and are more young and fit.

He pointed out that one of the sectors that make their services not as much productive was the Police force.

“It needed this because it is physical work and when an officer reached 60 years, they are no longer fit. Therefore the young one comes in because they are young and fit to do the job.”

He said old people are still good for work because their brains are still working but with jobs that need physical fitness, especially in the police, security, education and health sector, there is only an age limit. They cannot be forced to work over that limit.

“Some of the workers are over 70 years old and yet they did not receive their retirement pay,” said Mr Salwai.

“This government that I lead is trying its best to address this issue to make everyone who have reached their retirement age to get their pay,” he said.

He said the government has agreed on more than VT one billion to start paying out the public servants who have retired some years ago that have not received their money.

“It is important for the government to do this as the government makes the law so its duty is to comply with the laws. And one of its laws is to pay public servants after he or she reached the retirement age.

“The government money, it’s for the people, so it’s a must for the government to pay back to the people of Vanuatu.

“As this is the first time in Vanuatu that the government has agreed on such a big amount of money to pay the retired public servants on it, we will make sure that everyone receives their retirement pay,” he said.

He said many of the public servants have died, but thanked them for their support in uplifting the standard of Vanuatu in whatever sector they had worked. Their children, wives or husbands will receive their retirement pay to help them survive.

He said the money is sufficient for everyone, there will be no-one left behind. Everybody will get their retirement pay this year and at the beginning of next year.