As part of efforts to uphold the development legacy of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Cabinet Ministers have begun signing Performance Contracts jointly prepared by them and the Office of the President.
According to an Executive Mansion release, seven Ministers were among the first group that signed the Performance Contract following a Cabinet meeting. They included the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health & Social Welfare, Information, Cultural Affairs & Tourism, Commerce & Industry, Labor, Youth & Sports, and Internal Affairs.
Before signing the contracts, President Sirleaf challenged the Ministers to see development as dynamic and to expect a change or expansion in the targets they've set from time to time for the better of the country."These priorities were set by you, and at the same time you solicited budgetary support to set these priorities," the Liberian leaders told her Cabinet, adding, "It's therefore my hope that we all will work together to deliver these priorities to our people."
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the Dean of the Cabinet, Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, termed the exercise as a giant step and another milestone in leadership of President Sirleaf. He noted the paradigm shift in governance instituted by President Sirleaf that has set the bar for future Liberian leaders, and said they were grateful to be a part of the development legacy.
They pledged their commitment to meeting the targets stated within the contract - a commitment the Dean of the Cabinet said can only be achieved by collective efforts. "No one Minister will declare their targets achieved if the others fail, and this is why we have to work as a team for collective achievement. So it's collaboration from the Minister down to the janitor," the Foreign Minister declared.
Explaining the terms of the Performance Contract, the Director-General of the Cabinet, Dr. Momo Rogers, said the Performance Contracts signed between the Ministers and the President of Liberia cover a one-year period beginning October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.
The Contract asked each Minister to identify four projects (targeted goals) that can be achieved within a year and can be measured in tangible ways. "Because they are tangible, they are tied to the 2012/2013 Budget," Dr. Rogers noted.
He indicated that once Ministers identified targeted projects, the Cabinet Secretariat set up individual meetings with the President where they discussed and mutually agreed on these projects.
Dr. Rogers noted that with each individual Contract, President Sirleaf also has a part to play, including providing a strategic direction and overall supervision for the effective implementation of the targets; providing support to ensure timely delivery of the agreed targets or outputs; providing appropriate coordination and tracking mechanism by the Cabinet Secretariat to ensure other parties that should provide inputs to the Minister's efforts, do so and on time; and providing additional support from the Program Delivery Unit (PDU) in the Ministry of State, where the circumstances merit, to help them achieve their goals.
The Cabinet Secretariat and the PDU have been asked to monitor the Performance Contracts throughout the year, keeping track of progress or challenges every quarter of the reporting period.
On the signing of the Performance Contract, the Director-General of the Cabinet said that the President's intention is not to penalize Cabinet Ministers. "It's to give them the means to deliver effectively and efficiently; that's why she's tied each project to the budget," he said.