Gabon’s Minister of Budget and Public Accounts, Jean-Fidèle Otandault has said the implementation of austerity measures should result in savings of up to CFA 140 billion francs over the 2018 fiscal year.According to him, these recovery measures for the public finances are the result of cutting down on the staff of the Presidency, downsizing the government by at least 25 percent, slash the number of ministerial cabinets from 24 to 16 leading to a reduction in staff equivalent to 336, as well as abolish the second deputy positions throughout the administration (Deputy Secretary General 2, Deputy Director of Cabinet 2 and Deputy Director General 2).
Mr. Otandault went on to say that the government has gone further by taking bold measures, including cutting high civil service salaries, and striking off staff members who have abandoned their jobs or are terminally sick.
For him, all niches that can bring substantial savings to the state budget will not be spared.
Some unions have already announced that they will not comply with what they call unilateral measures.
“We do not accept to pay the bill, whereas they are the ones who brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy,” Patrick Mombo, an influential member of the Dynamique unitaire trade union said.
Gabonese Prime Minister, Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet is meeting with representatives of Western chancelleries accredited to Libreville to explain the austerity measures being introduced by his government to tackle the country’s current financial crisis.The measures come following the collapse of commodity prices on the international market.
During his presentation scheduled at his office, Mr Ngondet will focus particularly on the reasons for the application of some draconian measures recently taken with a view to putting the national economy back on track.
To this end, last week President Bongo set the tone by downsizing by 40 percent functionaries at the Presidency.
The same measure has been taken at the PM’s office and in other ministries.
He also imposed a three-year ban on civil service recruitment, the acquisition of vehicles costing CFA30 million and traveling first class by senior officials with the exception of ministers.
The Gabonese civil service is considered the most plethoric of the fifteen states in the franc zone.
With a population of 1.8 million, Gabon’s civil service has a 100,000 workforce, representing 55 civil servants per 1000 inhabitants.