Publish on 24 May 2016
By Zaw Zaw Htwe
A Row has broken out over the transfer of government staff to a joint venture between state-owned Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise and Singapore-based Puma Energy, which was set up last year to distribute aviation fuel, in the first of a number of planned privatisations.
The former civil servants say they want to continue working as government staff, as they fear that being classified as employees of a private company will leave them worse off financially.
The 77 staff work in the aviation fuel department at Yangon International Airport, said U Thant Zin, managing director of Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise in the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
At a press conference in Yangon’s Mayangone township on May 20, MPPE officials insisted that the staff had agreed to the change in status.
“We did it in accordance with civil service regulations [governing transfers], not under chapter 10 of the law concerning outside duty. The decision was made with your approval,” U Thant Zin told staff members who attended.
MPPE entered the joint venture with Singapore-based Puma Energy last September, to import, store and distribute jet fuel to 11 airports across the country.
National Energy Puma Aviation Services is based at the No 1 Refinery in Thanlyin township southeast of Yangon, where there is a storage facility, and also at Yangon International Airport.
Under section 233(d) of the civil service regulations, the staff would receive superannuation pensions and reduction pensions for long service, said U Thant Zin, adding that the department would compensate staff with shorter service.
But employees have written to the government complaining about the terms of their transfer.
Section chief U Aung Ko Oo, a 16-year veteran who has now been transferred permanently to the private company, said, “We wanted to transfer for three years under chapter 10, which governs external service. After three years, we would be able to decide whether or not to continue working for the company.”
He said the 77 staff, including assistant directors and other gazetted officers, were transferred last September.
“We are government officials, but we are prepared to work with this company under civil service regulations. On October 1 we learned that the transfer was permanent, though we were never properly informed,” said another section chief, U Myo Ko Ko.
Other staff members said 44 of the 77 had received no compensation or other job opportunities, and wanted to keep working for the government.
The joint venture between Puma Energy and MPPE is the first of several such planned ventures between the Ministry of Energy’s state-owned enterprises and private companies. The ministry has said it plans to transform many of its state-led companies into joint ventures with foreign partners to improve efficiency and boost profits.
MPPE holds a monopoly on distributing jet fuel in the country at 11 domestic airports.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun and Khien Thazin Han
Credit : http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/20473-anger-as-civil-servants-transferred-to-private-company.html