Image (Source: Facebook)Chawki Tabib being sworn in as President of the National Authority for Fight against Corruption on March 3, 2016
Chawki Tabib, President of the National Authority for Fight against Corruption, announced on ShemsFM radio on Wednesday, June 15, that Prime Minister Habib Essid had ordered an investigation into the cases of corruption in recruitment in the public service. Tabib said ‘recruitment in the public service will be reviewed’ and ‘anyone recruited, in a manner contrary to established regulations, to a position in public sector would be automatically dismissed.’
Ahead of nationwide consultations aimed at identifying the most urgent measures that the government should take to fight corruption the National Authority for Fight against Corruption has proposed an initial list of ten measures which include a call for the government to ‘review designations, appointments and promotions in public sector that may have suspicions of corruption or favoritism’.
In January, protests over employment prospects spread throughout Tunisia after the death of unemployed protester Ridha Yahyaoui in Kasserine. Yahyaoui electrocuted himself after discovering his name had been removed from a list of prospective municipal employment recruits, although Yahyaoui according to accounts was removed from the list as retribution for having taken part in protests it occurred in a context of perceived widespread inequity in recruitment practices.
Transparency and oversight of public sector recruitment would not only decrease perceptions of inequity but also contribute to moving Tunisia’s oversized public sector to a more efficient public sector and towards a meritocracy.
Shortly after the protests in January Prime Minister Habib Essid had declared that employment relief would not come from the public sector “We must think of encouraging investment and introduce young people to launch their projects and the government will do everything in this sense, because today, employment in the Tunisian administration is no longer possible knowing that it employs three times the number of staff it needs.”
Government Spokesman for the Prime Minister, Khaled Chouket announced after a cabinet meeting, also held on Wednesday that 23,616 individuals had been recruited into the public sector in the first half of 2016.
The World Bank in its ‘Economic Outlook Spring 2016‘ estimated that Tunisia’s ‘wage bill increased to 13.4 % of GDP (from 12.8 in 2014) to reach almost 50 % of total spending.’
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently agreed to a 2.8 billion USD four year loan to Tunisia, ahead of the loan Tunisia indicated its intent to reduce the wage bill to the equivalent of 12.7 percent of GDP by 2019.