Proposal to downsize staff at the Prime Minister's Office

Published On: December 10, 2023 07:00 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma

KATHMANDU, Dec 10: It has been proposed to reduce 72 staff positions in the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (PMO) as the number of employees is more than the requirement.                                                                                                                                                 

According to a report prepared by the committee tasked with restructuring the PMO under the coordination of Secretary Ek Narayan Aryal, the recommendation is to maintain no more than 223 staff positions. This initiative aims to make the PMO more agile, streamlined, and cost-effective. Currently, there are 295 staff positions in the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister's Office.

The committee proposes reducing the posts of secretary, under-secretary, and section officer. It suggests that a maximum of three secretaries in the Prime Minister's Office would be appropriate.

Presently, the Prime Minister's Office has six secretaries: Ek Narayan Aryal, Arjun Pokharel, Lila Devi Gadtaula, Maniram Gelal, Ganesh Pandey, and Khagendra Nepal, along with one Engineer (Technical). The committee recommends removing the engineer's post.

When the then-Secretary Ramesh Singh was transferred to the PMO, the post of Engineer was created for him. Maniram Gelal is currently working in the said post.

To oversee law and economic infrastructure, the committee suggests that a maximum of three secretaries, one each for secretary and administration and provincial coordination committee, would be sufficient.

Recently, if a secretary has to be excluded, he/she is sent to the Prime Minister's Office. Therefore, the secretary who was transferred to the Prime Minister's office thinks that he has been punished. At one time there were as many as nine secretaries in the PMO.

The secretaries outside the approved position have been placed in additional groups. There are 11 posts of Joint Secretary in the PMO. But the committee has suggested not reducing the post of staff like Joint Secretary. The committee submitted its report to Chief Secretary Baikuntha Aryal two months ago.

In the report, it is also proposed to increase the service perks and benefits and allowances of the employees working in the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister's Office. A member of the committee said that it was proposed to reduce the number of employees in the Prime Minister's Office to allocate sufficient work and enhance service delivery efficiency.

The member said that the report should be implemented if the PMO is to be made effective. But the employees have doubts about the implementation of the report.

Coordinator Ek Narayan Aryal mentioned that the report is in the process of implementation, with some points already executed. The committee, consisting of Narayan Bhatt, Manoj Acharya, Pradyumna Upadhyay, and Khomraj Koirala, presented the report.

Previous commissions, committees and working groups have also recommended downsizing, but their reports were not implemented.

Under the coordination of the then Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, Laxman Aryal, a post-review task force was formed of secretaries and higher-level employees.

The task force suggested reducing the number of secretaries in the committee from 73 to 45. But that report was not implemented.

After the 2017 elections, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli formed the Public Expenditure Review Commission under the coordination of Dilli Raj Khanal. The commission also submitted a report to the government. But the Oli government did not implement the report of the commission which was made by it. The Oli government made political appointments in the offices and institutes recommended for removal.

The Commission had recommended the government to keep up to 1,187 employees in ministries and 1,440 employees in departments.

Similarly, it was suggested to maintain 2,597 posts in departments and ministries. The report states that currently, 57 departments in the PMO are redundant.

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