How well specialised government bodies are performing to deliver services to citizens and whether any institutional reforms are needed is something that the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) should assess in the future, as it works to promote good governance in the country, senators have suggested.
The idea was pitched yesterday by members of the senatorial standing committee on social affairs as they met the Chief Executive Officer of RGB, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, in line with their work to analyse governance issues raised in the 2015-2016 reports from National Commission for Human Rights, Public Service Commission, as well as the Office of the Ombudsman.
While there are many specialised bodies in charge of providing services, the senators wondered why people keep complaining about poor services and wondered if an assessment couldn’t be conducted in the bodies, most of which are attached to ministries.
Against the backdrop of reported cases of poor service delivery in areas like water and sanitation, delivery of seeds to farmers, and poor delivery of social protection programmes, among other services, the lawmakers proposed an assessment of institutions such as Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), and the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA).
“We need to look at whether RGB can assess how the specialised institutions have done their work to improve services to the people,” said Senator Narcisse Musabeyezu.
Senator Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo agreed with his colleague, explaining that people’s complaints about poor services should inspire RGB to conduct an assessment to ascertain whether the institutions in place are doing their job or not.
“It’s clear that there are things we have to change in our governance system. There seem to be so many specialised bodies but how are they delivering?” Ntawukuriryayo wondered.
Among the major complaints from citizens across the country as established by the RGB in its Citizen Report Card assessment for 2016, most are related to expropriation processes, rampant theft in different communities, lack of water and electricity, land related conflicts, domestic violence, and late delivery of seeds to farmers.
Other common complaints are also found in the areas of social protection programmes like VUP and One-Cow-per-Poor-Family, domestic violence, as well as in providing citizens with basic infrastructure like roads and markets.
Almost every area among these complaints has a specialised government institution in charge of handling the respective service, and senators wondered how well the institutions are serving citizens or whether any reforms are needed.
“Looking at all these institutions, you need to think about how they can bring about efficiency in the delivery of public services instead of being a source of undesirable bureaucracy,” said Senator Gallican Niyongana, the chairperson of the senatorial Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions.
Senator Perrine Mukankusi advised RGB to strengthen dissemination mechanisms for its findings across all the institutions in charge of delivering services in order to inspire them to do better.
Prof. Shyaka said that RGB will continue to conduct research in order to better advise the government but he didn’t want to look at the existence of institutions as a challenge, essentially emphasising that it is rather necessary to ensure they deliver on their mandate.
“We are doing well but Rwandans and their government would like us to do better. I don’t think the problem is having many institutions but how they deliver their services to the people,” he said.
Ongoing analyses of the reports submitted by different national commissions and the Office of the Ombudsman to Parliament will help MPs draw up recommendations to be handed to the government for appropriate action.