Central and local government officials yesterday met in Kigali to discuss how to make government service delivery more accessible to the people through decentralising more and more responsibilities by new a administrative reform.
The meeting which brought together all Ministry Permanent Secretaries, Mayors and Executive Secretaries of all Provinces and Sectors, and a technical team on national level contributed their ideas on each institution’s role from the central government to the cell level.
“Public servants on the Sector level need to be increased because many activities will be taken there,” said Eugène Barikana, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Good governance, Community Development and Social Affairs (MINALOC), while presenting a document about reforming structures and responsibilities of administrative institutions in the country.
A cabinet meeting in July this year decided that government should reform its institutions especially on the local government level. This was after an assessment, by government, showed that local entities needed more powers to work effectively.
MINALOC in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA) are now working under a deadline set for the end of this month to review missions, functions, and structures of all central and local government administrative institutions and come up with a reform proposal for an improved performance in government service delivery.
“We want to see if there are for example some services that are offered by the central government that can be transferred to the local government. This requires discussions between representatives of both local and central government to look into how to decentralise responsibilities,” said Marcelline Mukakarangwa, MIFOTRA’s Permanent Secretary, as she explained one of the activities underway.
Though discussions are ongoing, a new draft of responsibilities as prepared by the technical team for the reform shows that major changes to be made include having ministries focus on design of policies rather than continue to deliver some services and have the Sector level implement most of the programmes designed at District level.
“If it is decentralisation, let services be at the grassroots level. This is what is helpful for the people,” said Emmanuel Murenzi, the Executive Secretary of Karangazi Sector, Eastern Province.
He said that he is ready to transfer some services the Sector was offering to the cell level if new structures are decided because some of them require no sophisticated expertise.
The reform process has created speculation that some civil servants may loose their jobs. However, according to many participants involved in formulating it, people will move from urban to rural areas as a result and thus lead to an increase in jobs.
The country’s five year decentralization program since this year aims at empowering local institutions to plan and implement their development programmes and deliver government services to the people.
This programme will also decrease government’s monopoly in executing some activities but instead leave them to the private sector by the year 2012.