Member of Parliament for Tati West, Biggie Butale has urged public servants to take advantage of opportunities provided by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and youth talent to enhance service delivery.
Speaking during the Inter-District Public Service Celebrations held in Masunga village last week Butale said through the use of ICT, there can be employment creation and improved service delivery which will in turn improve the economy. “Regarding the challenges currently faced by the country, let us take advantage of opportunities such as ICT and our educated and talented youth to create a stronger environment for improved service delivery,” he said. Touching on the Inter-District Public Service Celebrations, he said the event is very important as its main objective is to pay tribute not only to the public servants, but also to those who served the nation in 1966.
He showered accolades on the civil service for its contribution in the development of the country. “You have taken this country from its humble beginnings, where it had virtually nothing and was declared one of the poorest countries in the world to the upper middle income nation it is today. You have upheld the flag of this country and exhibited as I have come to know, a spirit of self-reliance, rule of law and the shining leadership that this country demonstrates,” he said.
He said Botswana is where it is today as a result of selfless citizens who have poured all their energies to change the country for the better including the public servants. He further said in this era, it is crucial for everyone to commit to uphold the country’s national values and brand. He commended the government through the epartment of Public Service Management(DPSM) for making efforts to widely publicize the Inter-District Public Service day.
“Since its inception in our country in 2012,the DPSM went around the country sensitizing public servants about this day, whose district level commemoration was officially launched in the city of Francistown in 2014,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, the Coordinator of Public Sector Reforms, Goaba Mosienyane said the past 50 years have been a test for resilience on public servants in that they experienced a number of shocks both of an external and internal nature. She said they have had to serve through the global economic crisis, recurring drought spells, floods, HIV/Aids scourge, stringent cost cutting measures, the growing public expectations and the economic and social challenges.
“We also had issues of transparency and accountability; pressure to attain high ratings on governance indicators, corruption perception indices, competitiveness in attracting investors as well as ensuring conformity of our labour force to the exacting performance standards. Our leadership has enunciated a ten point agenda for service which places values at the centre of our operations. Against all these standards, the public servant has been there for the customer, over many years and will continue to serve,” she said.
Mosienyane further added that the customer expectations arising from the changing demography and technological advances continue to alter and make the more stringent, the environment within which the public sector operates. She said driven by these expectations, the public sector is required to refine its role, strengthen its customer focus, build sophisticated service delivery models and break down old constraints and paradigms about the civil service as well as create new opportunities for delivering quality customer experiences. She also emphasized that it is through hard work, persistence, creativity and patience that the public sector has been able to overcome some of these challenges and remain relevant and responsive to the needs of communities.
Mosienyane however warned that despite some achievements made by the public servants, it is crucial that they do not rest and fall prey to hazards of complacency.
“We should not be fearful of the emerging challenges and rather use them to direct our process re-engineering and service vision. Systematic change does not happen overnight. It therefore becomes important for us to acknowledge those small bright spots of improvement wherever and whenever they occur as they are the ones that not only motivate us, but build our confidence and tenacity to stay the course of continuous improvement which will definitely push us to the next level,” she added.
Among other important issues, Mosienyane said that the design of their policy as civil servants should be tailored and adapted to suit the needs and the priorities of the country. She said that they must not reform for the sake of reforming, but must be motivated by genuine desire to increase public value and give Batswana the returns that they deserve from investments they have made.
“There is urgent need to build sound organizational capabilities to challenge any outdated policies and adopt more effective workforce planning, engagement and management strategies that nurture talent and create space for our star performers and youth to make their contribution. We should give credence to reform and inclusiveness by adopting modern practices of delivery such as sharing the load of work with communities and private sector, strengthening the regulatory role of government and being flexible and more responsive,” she added.
The event was held under the theme: 50 years of service to the Nation, United and Proud.