Thursday, October 28, 2021

GICO should be replaced with Botswana Delivery Unit

In presenting an NDP 11 chapter on monitoring and evaluation, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Eric Molale, sought to illustrate the importance of a government department whose effectiveness has been brought into question: the Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO).

As expressed by Molale, GICO’s mandate is “to coordinate the implementation of programmes and projects across government to ensure efficient service delivery for the benefit of Batswana.” The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) thinks that this is an unproductive venture and its Deputy President, Ndaba Gaolathe, has proposed what if feels would be a good replacement. Such replacement would be known as the Botswana Delivery Unit and its purpose would be to ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget. Gaolathe says that the Unit will have a time-bound mandate (he gives 10 to 20 years as an example) and will discharge four primary responsibilities: coordinating the planning process for economic clusters; monitoring and communicating progress with government and the public; identifying critical issues for escalation with relevant authorities; as well as deploying top talent to identify and resolve implementation bottlenecks. Elaborating the third function, Gaolathe, who is the MP for Gaborone Bonnington South, adds that the monitoring and communication processes should be made against pre-defined implementation and outcome metrics. Such metrics would link quarterly activities with economic outcomes to improve accountability. As regards the fourth function, he explains that the government should leverage internal consulting resources or qualified external experts.

“The current set of existing coordination and project management institutions ÔÇô like GICO – can be repurposed by adjusting their mandates and increasing their human resource capacity in line with the country’s ambition and challenges. The core talent of the Delivery Unit should include top talent that has significant experience in delivering large-scale projects in the public or private sector, and has advanced problem-solving skills that will enable them to address the challenges of executing large national projects,” Gaolathe said.

The Prime Minister’s office in the United Kingdom set up a delivery unit in 2001.  The unit’s purpose was to ensure the delivery of the Prime Minister’s top public service priority outcomes by 2005. A team of around 40 people, drawn from the public and private sectors, carried out the Unit’s work. The Unit also drew on the expertise of a wider group of associates with experience of successful delivery in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Poor project implementation has cost the Botswana government millions of pula.

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