The Governor of Gafsa, Mondher Laaribi, while conducting unannounced inspections of public administrative offices in his governorate to monitor civil servant attendance, walked in on a less than alert security guard during office hours.
A video of the incident was posted on the Governorate of Gafsa’s official Facebook page and shows Governor Laaribi waking the security guard and turning the civil servant’s daydream into a nightmare.
Governor Laaribi nudges the man several times before greeting him:
“Hello, how are you? If a car bomb came in here, you wouldn’t even know it. Let me introduce myself, I am the governor.”
In addition to the video the Governorate of Gafsa’s post said it would tighten security procedures and take the necessary disciplinary actions ‘against anyone who fails to perform the tasks entrusted to him.’
While announcing a campaign on absenteeism last week, meant to coincide with Ramadan and a larger two month campaign to improve work ethics in civil service, the Ministry of Civil Service, Governance and Fight Against Corruption Kamel Ayadi, recognized that absenteeism was only part of the civil service’s problem, citing “presenteeism”, or present but idle employees, as another phenomena of focus.
Ayadi launched a series of unannounced ‘attendance’ inspections in the Grand Tunis region beginning on Wednesday, June 8, as part of a two month campaign ‘to uphold the value of work’ in the public sector which began on May 8.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Habib Essid on Saturday, Ayadi indicated through Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) that ‘nearly 20 sworn in controllers were mobilized to this effect. The control operation is made at the first and last hour of work as well as at mid-day.’ The first visits were made in Ayadi’s own Ministry of Civil Service, Governance and Fight Against Corruption and offices attached to the Prime Ministry.
When the launch of the campaign was announced in May, Ayadi said the situation “cannot be tolerated any longer” and urged civil servants to realize that “human resources are Tunisia’s only wealth and that economic development hinges on a better staff performance and productivity.”
Ayadi added “Reforming the administration is the mother of the reforms because the administration is the backbone of the state, it costs more and more expensive to Tunisian taxpayer for a decline in quality of service.”
According to Ayadi, the campaign will lead to the publishing a report on the costs of absenteeism and administrative measures against employees absent without reason.
According to statistics cited by Minister Ayadi during a press conference to mark the launch of the campaign:
- The overall the public sector wage bill represents 45% of the overall state budget and 14% of GDP.
- 2.7 million working days are lost annually due to short or long-term sick leaves.
- These lost days account for about 4.5% of the overall government wage bill.
- The losses incurred from absences represent 2% of the annual Tunisian budget.
The civil society anti-corruption watchdog organization ‘I-Watch’, the Tunisian chapter of Transparency International, is also conducting an awareness campaign through Facebook ‘#Jayinkom’ to monitor public administration offices which attempt to close early during the already reduced office hours of Ramadan.