Friday, September 07, 2007

Seychelles: Government to Outsource ICT Jobs

The Seychelles' public sector ICT workforce will shrink considerably as a result of the current restructuring being undertaken by the government.

In a recent interview the minister responsible for Information and Communication Technology, Jacquelin Dugasse said his ministry intends to outsource most projects to the private sector.

"This is an opportune moment for our young professionals to apply their trade in the private sector or even set up their own businesses," says Dugasse.

Amongst the ICT specialists who could lose their current employment with the government are several developers, designers, programmers, analysts, administrators and technicians. A government spokesperson said that in the last three weeks 57 employees from various professions, including ICT have been made redundant.

Critics have questioned the government's motives since ICTs have been identified as the backbone for the country's ambitious plan for the next ten years called Strategy 2017.

"This is ironic. Seychelles is already heavily dependent on foreign expertise in the ICT fields, yet we are now witnessing qualified local talents being made redundant," commented a chamber of commerce official.

The government has defended its decision to lay off workers, claiming it will enforce its role as facilitator and regulator rather than the major service provider. "We intend to refrain from employing people doing specialist jobs that the private sector can do more effectively, whilst contributing positively to Seychelles? prosperity," says the vice president, Joseph Belmont. The main opposition party has expressed dismay at the reasons given for the redundancy and has accused the government of handling the situation with insensitivity.