Turkmenistan is offering public sector office employees street-sweeping work as an alternative to complete dismissal as part of an ongoing downsizing of its government. Among those asked to consider the humble occupation are state accountants, economists and engineering staff.
Reports throughout last year indicated that stretched government finances had prompted public sector agencies and organisations in the remote, tightly controlled Central Asian nation to cut their workforces and send remaining employees on unpaid leave. In mid-February, hundreds of street cleaners and office staff were made redundant as a result of the transfer of the Asgabatgurlusyg construction association from under the control of one state entity to another.
While the street cleaners have received the short end of the stick, it appears that the government is attempting to keep office staff employed by making them do the street cleaning instead.
Forcing employees to take leave without pay has become so rampant in the crisis-ridden Turkmen capital Ashgabat that some observers note that it amounts to unemployment.
Many Turkmen budgetary issues have emerged from the country’s economic crisis stemming from low oil prices and partly also from a failure to develop gas export routes anything like fast enough. The budget revenues of the hydrocarbon-dependent country are being consumed at an unrealistic rate, it appears.
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