Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Govt maps way forward to improved efficiency

Government has laid plans to improve public sector reliability and service to provide a favourable environment for performance monitoring and evaluation.

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng during the Mid Term Review of National Development Plan 11 chapter 8 on Monitoring and Evaluation revealed one of the key priority areas of the plan is ensuring efficient Government spending and financing.

Key to achieving such a priority would be the implementation of an effective Performance Monitoring and Evaluation system with a strong focus on performance.

“The M&E system becomes even more relevant given the acute shortages and competing needs of our national resources as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, M&E is an essential public service management tool for strengthening our governance; ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in our implementation efforts; as well as in promoting transparency and accountability to the citizens of this country,” Morwaeng said.

“The process to strengthen performance M&E through the implementation of the National Monitoring and Evaluation System (NMES) continues. The fundamental aspects include regular M&E of policies, programmes, and projects; integration of performance management with strategic planning, budgeting and public service management functions; strengthening institutional M&E roles and responsibilities; dissemination and use of performance information for decision making; and citizen feedback on service delivery,” Morwaeng said.

A solid foundation has already been laid, as Cabinet has approved the National Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Policy. The policy guides the conduct of national M&E and creates an enabling environment for M&E in Botswana. The Performance M&E Framework is used to measure and track NDP 11 implementation.

Morwaeng said evaluations are critical for evidence-based decision making and improving planning, programme design and budget allocations. Evaluations were used as pilots to build capacity and also generate interest and demand for evaluation findings.

“The institutionalisation of a Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System provided an opportunity to revise the Planning Officers Manual in 2018, to incorporate monitoring and evaluation into our national planning. A significant feature of this has been the linkage of inputs and activities to outputs, outcomes and impact of programmes. This logic makes it easier to identify interventions that can generate more positive outcomes,” he said.

He said setbacks remain persistent such as unavailability of timely and reliable data, a lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities amongst critical stakeholders in the area of performance of Monitoring and Evaluation, which has resulted in duplication of efforts.

“Capacity for M&E also remains a challenge within the agencies such as National Strategy Office (NSO), Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED), Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO) and Statistics Botswana, which provide leadership for the M&E System development. Performance Monitoring and Evaluation demands exceed the existing M&E expertise within Government. To name a few,” he said.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Serowe South Leepetswe Lesedi supported the policy as there have been projects in the country, which have been put on hold because their monies were diverted to other projects which exceeded the planned budget. MP for Palapye Onneetse Ramogapi expressed disappointment with government, citing that the policy has been long overdue and that it took government a long time to finally bring it to Parliament.

Morwaeng highlighted: “It is also critical that we activate the use of the simplified reporting tools as a quick-win to enhance performance management. The information generated from this Performance Monitoring and Evaluation System will be used to improve our planning, implementation and accountability processes. Our emphasis is on continuous learning and perfecting the system overtime through the identification of any gaps and challenges that may impact the implementation of our policies, programmes and projects.”

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.