RE-ENGINEERING PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY IN ZIMBABWE
Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 9:20am
I hailed the launch of the site zimtreasury.org by Honourable Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti and efforts to engage with the public through information sharing and dessemination. The information that has already been availed is invaluable in that it is already informing people world-wide about how the public purse portfolio is structured to manage the economy and the various policy documents and economic instruments available. The relevance of this site is about its ability to interface with the public in an objective and transparent manner. I note that to date no item has been posted on the forums despite the coverage it has received. This liberalisation of information demystifties and improves accounatibility to the public and in the long run confidence in the government machinery. This initiative needs to be tasked to the ministry responsible for ICT to create a ONE STOP GOV PORTAL which should comprise All Ministiries and Departments. This will bankroll a paperless public sector as documents can be processed online in line with modern trends. This serves on the prnting and stationery budget which comprises a substantial amount of govt expenditure, storage space.
This is about re-engineering the provision of public services for effective service delivery that not only creates savings in the public purse, but directly benefits the person on the street. One will not need to travel from Lupane to say Bulawayo or Harare for a generic servcie that could be easily accessed on-line. The biggest hurdle is the cost of implementing such an exercise, but strategic projectection indicates that there are long term benefits and this revulutionarises provision of public services. The current public sector is modelled on a bureacracy that relies heavily on use of paper that goes as well with how documents such as the Treasury Instructions and the Audit and Exchequer acts are modelled, which may need to form part of the changes which should be included in the Public Finance Management and Audit Office Bills. The review of these Bills is welcome, and should be open to public scrutiny as to their relevance. As long as Audited ministry accounts are debated after say 5 years, the significance and relevance of the bills will be obscured and management of public funds will not reform either.
It is critical therefore that a huge investment in ICT is made, to make sure that it is taught as a subject at Chapoto Primary School, Nguboyenja as well as at David Livingstone Primary School. In the public sector, it has to be cascaded to all levels and grades and not be confined to selected front-line services. The benefits of such an initiative are huge and saves the govt. in the long run through restructuring of the public service, streamlining the size of the civil service, saving the enviroment by reducing use of paper, saving the public from unneccessary travels, improving service delivery and monitoring the implementation of programmes and projects. The removal of Visa restrictions for visitors to South Africa is one example of effective decision making that not only benefited the man on the street, but safeguarded the public from exploitation and rooted out corrupt practises that had firmly established itself as a thriving business.Re-engineering the way government does its business in the Public Sector should be one of the key priorities of the Inclusive Goverment and such a Project will certainly attract massive support from All Zimbabweans and the Donor Community. It has to be well thought out and should go beyond the realms of the focus of the GPA. Obviously any changes bring about anxiety in the present day incumbents in the Public Sector, due to limitations in the use of computers and compter technology. A capacity building programme has to be incorporated to strengthenen project implementation.
The provision of Computers to the Ministry of Women's Affairs is one such initiative but can be a futile exrcise if this is done in isolation or independent of the overall thrust of ICT development.
Written about a week ago ·
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Suleiman Dhliwayo at 12:51pm June 8
very valid points there Josh. I think the introduction of this system is a step in the right direction for public service in Zim. To ensure the sysytem works there is a lot that needs to be done, these include improvements in the tele-coms systems, rural electrification, etc. As good as this may be the Zim government will have to direct a huge chunk of its budgets towrds infrastructural development, which wll in the long run impact on economic development and growth