The objective of the workshop was to sensitise senior officials, namely chairpersons and Board members, senior managers, Chief Executive Officers and Finance managers on the need for reform in parastatal bodies, especially in the context of the economic crisis which warrants a better management of resources. Furthermore, parastatals are characterised by flaws such as absence of performance monitoring, substandard service delivery, high dependency on budget transfers from Government, poor Corporate Governance and wastage.
In his opening address, Minister Moutia said that Government is seriously concerned with the level of organisational performance and governance principles across the Civil service and parastatal bodies. He recalled that major reforms in the public sector have started since 2006, with special emphasis on deliverables, performance management and results.
“Sustained effort towards good governance is necessary. There is constant need for continuous improvement across the sector to ensure that our services are efficient and equitable,” he said.
According to the Minister, the fact that since some parastatals hold monopoly power in the areas of basic necessities and are subsidized by government at very high cost, there is need for close monitoring. He underscored the importance for the emergence of a new mindset both in the public and private sectors, adding that consideration should be given to the expectations of the new generation of customers who are better informed of standards, benchmarks and practices with regard to service delivery.
As regards the PIMS, the Minister outlined that this laudable initiative will allow the identification of poor performers, provide for diagnosis of the causal factors and determination of the appropriate remedial actions. At present there is no central focal point for collecting and analysing parastatal performance data and no regularly updated information system providing a complete picture of the sector. Information available on the parastatals’ performance is fragmented and is collected on an ad hoc basis from sector ministries. An important prerequisite for effective parastatal reform is a management information system which allows for regular collection and analysis of information, continuous diagnosis of the problems and easy monitoring of reform progress.
For his part, the director of the OPSG, Mr Geeanduth Gopee, said that there is a strong need to improve the performance of parastatals by making them cost-effective, transparent and outcome-oriented and customer-friendly. The OPSG and the Board of Investment have developed a web based system whereby all parastatals will have to input online data on their financial and non-financial performances. The database thus created will allow the OPSG to monitor closely performance, identify underperformance at an early stage and propose performance enhancing reforms, he pointed out.
Speaking on the improvement of management and service delivery, Mr Gopee appealed to participants to think out of the box and to continuously raise questions with regard to the effectiveness of the institutions so as to generate governance reforms and other broad-based changes with a view to supporting the development of a cost effective and outcome-oriented public sector and the parastatal bodies.