Opening Speech by H.E.U Myint Swe, Vice President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar at the Consultative Workshop on the Civil Service Reform Strategic Action Plan

Aug 25, 2016

Warmest Greetings to All,

I would like to extend my cordial greetings to Union Ministers, Chairman of the Union Civil Service Board and Members,Members of the Union Parliament, Ministriesand Senior Official Representatives of States and Regions, Ambassadors, Representatives of UN agencies, development partners and international organizations, foreign and local experts, Myanmar’s civil society and to all distinguished guests and participants here present.  It is my pleasure today to launch the ‘Consultative Workshop on Civil Service Reform Strategic Action Plan’ which is one of the pivotal endeavors in our country’s transformational path.

The Civil Servantsare key to any institutional transformation. They are the main driving force for the Administration to develop.We see the role of Civil Servants paramount in making the institutional change happen, and it is because of this that we need to ensure to build their capacities. The President of Myanmar and the State Counsellor have both given directives to the Union Civil Service Board to ensure that civil service modernization and strengthening is given the necessary focus and attention for it to be capable to sustain the overall socio-economic transformation of our country.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The most important challenge of this current Government will be to meet the high expectations of our people.The Government will do all what is in our power to fulfill the promise and to ensure sustainable development through effective, efficient and accountable institutions that would be instate a people-centered administration working for the people.

For today’s workshop, we have to think first of what we would like to become.  After setting our goal, we will need to analyze how to reach this objective and identify most appropriate ways to reach it. We aspire to establish a more effective and responsive administrative mechanism. This is our goal and desire.

In order to establish more effective and responsive administrative mechanisms, three factors are required: firstly, the organizational structure needs to beappropriate and correct; secondly, the system which is the driving force of the administrative mechanism has to be proper and correct, and thirdly, the strategy for the Administrative Reform has to be proper and correct.In short, there is a need to strengthen what can be called as the “Triple S”. These 3 factors are requisites for building an institution. What is important to understand is that these requisites could differ from one ministry to another, from one institution to another.The best way is hence for each ministry to determine their respective priorities for reform and act on them. The people, those who are outside the ministries,make judgment based on appearances and usually make suggestions to do this or that action; we need to be aware that sometimes these suggestions could not be appropriate. The reform of each and every ministry should be carried out primarily byits own leadership and people, the civil servants. The civil servants from these ministries should also have the capacity to determine reform plans and implement them. This is important.

It is easy for the Triple S mentioned previously to be achieved but the challenging aspect, the one that is not so apparent, is the reform of the mindset of the civil servants. This endeavor is considered as being the most difficult part of the reform as it involves feelings which are intangible.Our reform process will only be possible if the responsible persons from different departments believe in and lead the reform. Mindsets of the civil servants practices, efficiency, regulations and their effect determines the administrative mechanism reform. For this, it is very important for us to come up with an action plan.

Ladies and Gentleman

In this consultative workshop, we have included a theme that would examine the Governance of the Civil Service, and I would encourage discussions around the need to ensure ways to prepare the service to be more accountable when carrying out the responsibilities, to have more effective decentralization process and for its action plans to be implemented effectively. When delivering public services to the people, there is a need for cutting red tape. The civil servants will all need to be aware of what the country is doing, which road it is taking. When implementing the plans, they need to be able to adapt to more effective thinking and practices. That is why, departmental reform has to be discussed among the civil servants of these departments. It is of utmost importance they lead the reforms and improve systems and practices with conviction and willingness.

Ladies and Gentlemen

We see the development of the public service a necessary element of the development the countryand I believe and hope thatthe outcomes from today’s consultations will also supports in establishing a strategic plan which would ensure the sustainability of the reform process.In closing, I wish to thank all participants for contributing to this consultative workshop and I would also like to encourage the international community and our development partners to provide any technical and financial support required for this reformto succeed.

I wish you all fruitful discussions.  

Thank you!

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