Prime Minister Elie Dote of the Central African Republic (CAR) has declared a three-month rule by decree in the country a success, saying it allowed President Francois Bozize to use "emergency measures" to streamline the civil service.
Following a request from the prime minister's office, the CAR National Assembly had authorised Bozize to rule by decree from 1 January to 31 March.
"This operation was spread out to cover all aspects of the country's administration," Dote said on Tuesday during an interview with IRIN. "For example, in the capital Bangui, it allowed us to discover the enormity of the diverse anomalies in the financial management of workers in the public sector."
He added: "The assessment of this period speaks for itself; the results are evident and appreciated by the nation and the international community alike."
The emergency measures included the sacking of three ministers in relation to fraud in the payment of civil servants. The three are Anne Marie Ngouyombo (Tourism); Bernard Gonda (Urban Development and State Buildings); and Job Izima of Communication and National Reconciliation, Human Rights and Democratic Culture.
Dote said the rule by decree also allowed the government to "have a clear idea of the salary mess of state employees and how to bring it under control". After evaluation, he said, the government suspended "a lot" of high-level civil servants and sent their cases to a disciplinary committee.
He said previous governments had always been confronted with the "thorny" issue of payment of salaries and arrears owed to civil servants. He said the administrations of presidents Andre Kolingba, Ange-Felix Patasse and Bozize had all been confronted with settling civil servants' salary arrears that accrued for periods ranging from 29 to 40 months.
"These arrears have existed partly due to dishonesty on the part of the government employees," Dote said.
In terms of good governance and the management of the civil service, Dote said, the rule by decree was aimed at ensuring accountability at all levels of government; guaranteeing transparency; facilitating the participation of all citizens in the governance process and ensuring that the judiciary performed effectively.
It was also aimed at fighting corruption and money laundering, investigating corruption cases and putting in place measures to curb the vice as well as establishing policies and procedures to prevent corruption and entrench a code of ethics for all government employees, Dote said.
The government also used the January-March period to harmonise salary payments to the different categories of workers in the civil service, set a retirement age of 60 years; put in place a policy on replacement of deceased or retired employees; as well as chart strategies on how to deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.