Dar keen on scaling up ‘Big Results Now’

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has expressed the government’s intention to expand the scope of the Big Results Now (BRN) initiative by scaling it up to bring on board all sectors in the near future.

President Kikwete made the remarks in Dar es Salaam on Monday evening when he opened the 12th forum of Commonwealth Heads of African Public Service experience in the implementation of BRN.

“We believe that an effective government is the one that is able to deliver results, track them and be able to account to the general public. The days of taking comfort in processes have long gone,” he said.

He added: “It is now about details, numbers, transparency, ownership and accountability. To achieve that, decision must be made on time with right information and data, and must be executed”.

He stressed on the need to make public service peopleoriented, based on meritocracy and driven by service to the citizenry, transparency and accountability.

Mr Kikwete said when he took office in 2005 he was disturbed on how to make government deliver and his first five years’ experience has taught him lessons since despite changing laws, policies and introducing new institutions, there was a dire need to change the way things are done by putting more emphasis on execution and delivery.

“I realized that the problems may necessarily not lie in the quality of policy making process or policies themselves, but on the mechanisms in place for implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

I noticed that much of our time we are being bogged down by processes and bureaucratic inertia,” said President Kikwete.

He said that he decided to start the BRN under the Presidential Bureau whereas all actors from the government, private sector, civil society, development partners and other stakeholders meet. “They do an evaluation of the prevailing situation in the sector.

Through thorough discussion they identify areas of strengths and weakness and agree on what needs to be done to advance and consolidate the gains made and improve on the weakness made,” he explained.

Through such meetings, he added, they also set targets and timeframe and apportion roles as well as allocating budgetary resources while the government has to give top priority to the sectors identified for priority action.

President Kikwete pointed out the BRN programme has worked well so far despite challenges that they face in terms of resource mobilisation but it has improved system wide coherence in government in terms of focus, data, and results that can be tracked and verified.

It has improved discipline and culture of execution within the government. The involvement of stakeholders in the formulation of goals, targets and indicators has also increased public involvement, confidence and scrutiny.

The president added that before BRN, civil servants were much more rewarded and measured by how faithful and conservative they are to processes rather than results -- not how much they deliver – and, as a result, enjoyed more gymnastics of policy making than that of execution.

“At the end of these long and tedious processes, it is difficult to establish the impact in terms of delivery to the public, which is more interested in results than the processes, Mr Kikwete observed.

He said he, therefore, expected to improve execution and delivery and go beyond crafting good policies, strategies and plans as the effectiveness of government is not only reflected in its ability to formulate good policies but also on its ability to execute them.

‘’The times that we are in as well as the increasing stakeholder appetite for scrutiny and the demand for accountability brings the legitimacy of the government at stake,’’ the president noted.

He added that the sharing experiences, lessons and learning from one another was the surest way of answering lingering questions.
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