Improving service delivery is everyone’s responsibilty

Improved service delivery has been singled out as an important ingredient in the country’s development effort due to its role in attracting investments.

Improved service delivery has been singled out as an important ingredient in the country’s development effort due to its role in attracting investments.

In fact, both the government and the private sector have for long been promoting quality service delivery through customer care drives like ‘Na Yombi’ and ‘Noza Serivisi’ by the Rwanda Development Authority and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Several initiatives to improve the quality of services in public institutions have indeed had an impact, but generally, it is still dogged with bureaucracies, delays and repetitive procedures that affect citizens and investors. Indeed, in the latest Rwanda Governance Score Card 2012, quality of service delivery scores 70.44 per cent, which is the least out of eight indicators.

Indicators with the highest score include safety/security, 91.4 per cent and investing in people, 78.8 per cent, among others. 

According to the score card, service delivery ranked lowest in the infrastructure and water sectors with 52.8 and 56.7 per cent respectively, while the best performing sectors were health, 82.2 per cent and agriculture, 77.7 per cent.

On the other hand, the much-criticised private sector scored highly with 82.2 per cent, indicating a staggering improvement in a sector, where an order for a simple meal could take almost an hour.

Comparatively, however, delivery of quality service generally improved from 66.2 per cent in 2010 to 70.44 per cent mainly due to rigorous campaigns by the private sector and government.

The launch of a programme by the government last month that will see the scrapping of redundant regulations and requirements that impede service delivery in the public service should be seen as an effort to cement this achievement.

A taskforce appointed by the Cabinet is already reviewing the requirements and guidelines for government regulated services.

“This systematic and involving approach will help the country improve the business environment and ensure straight-forward regulatory requirements across all sectors to enhance efficiency in the public sector,” said Francois Kanimba, the Minister of Trade and Industry during the programme launch.

“This exercise is important to ensure citizens and the business community are served in the most effective and efficient manner to achieve our development goals,” Kanimba said.

The minister cited delays Rwandans and investors face when getting construction permits, marriage certificates, documents’ notifications or land titles.

But not all government bodies have poor service delivery. Registration of businesses was simplified by RDB, and it now takes an investor a maximum of 24 hours due to the centralisation of procedures and requirements. However, after registering a business, investors require other services to be as efficient, which is not the case according to the score card.

Some of those identified by government as needing improvement in service delivery include the energy, water and infrastructure sectors, as well as in the justice sector, where the rate of backlog of commercial and civil court cases awaiting trial is still high.

“Both the public and private sectors must double efforts to ensure quality services, particularly in the justice sector, water, energy and transport sectors,” Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the RGB chief executive officer, said during the launch of the score card a fortnight ago.

Service delivery is spearheaded by the Office of the President, which also emphasises zero tolerance to corruption. As an important ingredient to service delivery, the President promotes transparency and accountability in all public institutions through initiatives, like decentralisation of the national anti-corruption initiative to the local level, as well as enforcing strict adherence to procurement laws and plans.

These efforts have paid off as indicated in the 2012/13 Global Corruption Barometer produced by Transparency International last month, showing that Rwanda continues to be the least affected by corruption in the region.

The report shows that, whereas East Africa is highly affected by corruption, falling in the second last most-corrupt category of the global corruption barometer in the range of 50 to 74.9 per cent, Rwanda is an exception with the least corrupt rate of 13 per cent, the best ranking on the continent.

However, efforts geared at curbing corruption should never stop. Likewise, bureaucratic tendencies in several government institutions should be addressed as well to boost investor confidence and improve the quality of life of the masses.

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