Zimbabwe’s new Finance Minister of building an effective public service


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Public financial resources ought to be managed with integrity, transparency and accountability, all for efficient and effective service delivery, sustainable economic growth and development.

Above all the “value for money” principle should be a guiding force, underpinned appropriate policies and choice of the most cost-effective interventions, which should be implemented efficiently.

At the level of the citizen, the impact of public financial resource management is felt through the quality of service delivery.

With the exception of a few countries in Africa, the experience of ineffective service delivery and resource management across government departments is all too pervasive.

Likewise, Zimbabwe has suffered from ineffective service delivery and need for improved resource management.

This issue has a financial dimension in terms of the inefficient deployment of financial resources from the Zimbabwe Treasury.

The problem is not always that the public service is too big, but that service delivery tends to be poor.

The reasons for, and solutions to, poor service delivery in the public sectors in cross-country experiences is a subject I teach in the Master of Public Policy Course at the University of Oxford, and have written about using examples from Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, among others.

Here, I would note, a few salient points, starting with the need to cultivate a culture of effective service delivery.

This will require acquisition of new skills by civil servants, in order for them to imbibe the value for money objectives and improve service delivery.

An appropriate initial focus is with senior managers in the national civil service and municipal and local authority managers.

These managers would need to be better equipped through skill-acquisition programmes to enhance their performance and that of the teams they supervise.

The training could begin with a Leadership programme for permanent secretaries and directors in government ministries and municipalities.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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