Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Molale calls on Districts to assure quality service

source: Republic of Botswana (22/4/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 11 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline

C4) 17/4/09: Molale calls on Districts to assure quality service

The Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr. Eric Molale, at a workshop for public servants held this week in Mochudi, called for a change of mindset on the part of District Development Committees (DDC) in the implementation of their annual action plans.

It was observed that the need for such a shift has become all the more urgent in the context of negative trends in the global economy, which meant that Batswana had no choice but to maximise the benefit of available resources.

The workshop was convened as part of the PSP’s ongoing consultative tour of the Districts, whose principal objective is to ensure improved coordination of District Development Plans during the current (2009-10) financial year.

In his remarks, which combined firmness and straight talk with good humour, Mr. Molale cited examples where a lack of commitment and coordination on the part of local authorities had resulted in poor standards of service, as well as a failure to effectively implement public policies and programmes.

He observed that in accordance with long established policy the DDCs were responsible for assuring quality service delivery in their areas.

Examples of poor delivery included instances in which health clinics had been inadequately stocked and maintained. Given that failure to provide medicines and otherwise cater for patients’ needs could be a matter of life and death, he affirmed that there could be no excuse for “sleeping on the job”.

To prevent such occurrences, the PSP noted that supervising officers should make it their business to get out of their offices to inspect the customer care centres falling under them. He noted that all too often individuals only looked into situations after they had reached a crisis point.

Molale also emphasised the need for DDCs to achieve common ownership and on time delivery of projects through the drafting of, and adherence to, targeted project memoranda.

He further informed the gathering that in carrying out its monitoring mandate the Government Implementation and Coordination Office (GICO) would scrutinize their progress reports.

The PSP also called for closer cooperation between central and local Government stakeholders.

On the tour, he is being accompanied by the Directors of the various departments and agencies concerned with local service delivery, as well as the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries Local Government and Agriculture.
In the interest of greater accountability the PSP informed the audience that Ministries should appoint sectoral coordinators to work under the District Commissioners. He further noted that the DDCs would be streamlined in the interest of greater efficiency.

He also stressed the importance of all departments, without delay, aligning their Operational Boundaries with District Administrative Boundaries.

The PSP expressed dismay at the tendency on the part of Production Development Committees to confine themselves to project appraisal rather than seeing it as their first duty to identify and localise opportunities for economic development. Their key role in ensuring that His Excellency the President’s initiative to source local products was proactively carried out where possible was also noted.

With respect to the role of District Land Use Planning Units, PSP further emphasised the need for a change in attitude, noting that all too often the units had acted as inhibiters rather than facilitators of orderly land use.

The PSP also took the opportunity to remind officials of the need to incorporate the youth their strategies, as well as take on board such additional issues as crime prevention and HIV/AIDS in their planning.

PSP's tour began this week in Mochudi and Molepolole, involving authorities from the Gaborone City Council and Kgatleng, Kweneng and South East District Development Committees.

Next week the tour will proceed to Kanye (20-21/4/09), Kang (22-23/4/09) and Ghanzi (24-25/4/09). Further Meetings are scheduled to be convened at Maun (27-28/4/09), Francistown (29-30/4/09) and Palapye (4-5/4/09).

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