Poor work culture to blame for economic challenges-Mangani

Zambia’s economic challenges are mainly due to poor work culture by the civil servants and the move by Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) commissioner general Kingsley Chanda to lock out employees who reported late  for work on Monday was decisive and needed to be replicated in all government ministries and departments, says former Home Affairs minister Lameck Mangani. Mr. Mangani said most civil servants were wasting government’s time by doing other things instead of the jobs they were paid for, adding that such acts, even if they seemed negligible, had a huge turnover effect on the performance of the economy and that if the civil servants did not change their mindset, the problem was bound to continue. He said it was unfortunate that some workers wanted to be policed in order for them to work accordingly, yet their colleagues in the private sector operated efficiently at all times even under very minimum supervision, adding that what happened at ZRA on Monday should serve as a lesson to those in-charge that introducing a laissez-faire working environment was counter-productive and that the situation should be changed across the country. He said time management in the Zambian civil service has been the biggest challenge as workers inadvertently or on purpose reported for work late and never bothered to even apologise for coming late, adding that even bosses had taken the retrogressive behaviour of such employees as business as usual disregarding the effect such acts had on the economy. “Have you ever heard that a bank has opened late because the employees reported for work late? Never. But what do we get from the civil service? Excuses of traffic everyday but the question is; which roads do those who report for work early use? Are they not the same roads? Right now, our economy is not performing well because of various reasons but our attitude towards work is the major setback “No matter how we cry over the poor economy and the rising cost of living, nothing will change if the civil service does not change its attitude towards work because on average, a civil servant only works five to six hours every day while the rest of the time is wasted on idling and gossiping and how do you expect the country to develop like that?” Mr. Mangani asked. He said supervisors and middle management were the major culprits because they were taking advantage of the fact that they were in-charge and therefore, no one would reprimand them for reporting late for work and urged government ministries to replicate Mr. Chanda’s initiative if that is what it took to have an effective civil service. “Unfortunately, the major culprits are supervisors and middle management because they are the ones abusing the concept of bosses are never late but only delayed but this had destroyed our working culture in Zambia and now time management has become the biggest disease we are faced with and we thank the ZRA boss for that bold step he took and we only hope that he will continue so that other supervisors can learn from him,” he said. On Monday morning, Mr. Chanda locked out all ZRA employees who had not reported for work at 08:00.