The first quarter of the Ethiopian fiscal has just ended coinciding with the opening of the regular sessions of the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR)and House of Federation(HoF). This would mean that HPR will kick start its duties among other things by assessing the performance of budgeted government ministries, commissions and agencies. What did these organizations plan to accomplish in the first quarter to what extent have they utilized the budget earmarked for them for the first quarter? These and other related issues are critical for tracking down on the performance of government institutions.
Speaking on the recent joint session of HPR and HoF, President Dr.Mulatu Teshome said that the government is planning to register 11.1 percent growth rate at the end of the current fiscal year of which 8.0 percent is expected from the agricultural sector. The industrial sector including middle level and bigger industries and the construction sector are expected to meet an average target of more than 20 percent.
This implies that public institutions are expected to meet their own national targets by promoting multi-faceted efficiency, proper utilization of budget and the corresponding activities. Effective time management in the performance of major mega projects, ensuring accountability in all spheres of economic activities, putting in place effective operational modalities to curb slackness in project performance, rent seeking and corruption in the forms of tax evasion and other forms are to be seriously considered.
This year needs to be a year in which government organizations should stop unnecessary supply chain management activities by purchasing various types of commodities close to the end of the fiscal year simply to avoid disbursement of public fund.
Pursuant to the report delivered by the president and in accordance to measures taken by the National Bank of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Birr is devaluated by 15 percent. Although this might help to boost the nation's foreign exchange earnings and foreign trade, unless effective measure are put in place inflation could gallop to a higher level affecting the daily life of the public at large and supply chain services for government enterprises.
Furthermore, promoting quality service in the performance of public service providers needs to be one of the focal areas in which good governance is to prevail. This is a critical issue. Although quite a number of public organizations have expressed their commitment to good governance what is actually on the ground shows that there is a lot of foot dragging in practically implementing the reform programs that were designed by public institutions.
Improving the capacity of public servants in all professions and particularly in the scientific and educational sectors is of critical important. In his report to the joint session of the two Houses, President Dr. Mulatu said "This year, the government will Carry out construction and expansion activities of the public universities and focus on the establishment of more technical and vocational training centers in each Woreda of the country and fulfill utility gaps in the universities by equipping them with standard laboratories, workshops and libraries." He added that efforts will be made to improve the livelihood of teachers, their quality and professional ethics.
The president has rightly stressed on the importance of instituting remunerations and rewards to public servants on the basis of their measurable contributions. This will certainly have far reaching positive contributions not only in promoting quality education but also for providing viable services to the public at large.
One of the major aspects of public servant's deliverology is precisely interrelated with the prevalence of parasitic attitude and world outlook among public servants. In many cases a mix personal interest, pseudo interest on public values and perverted outlooks on democracy and self determination describe the state of mind among public servants in federal institutions.
The scope of world outlook of public servants need t be tuned in to the over arching national interest of the country at large. Such negative attitudes on public property and finance, institutional red tape, total indifference to crimes committed on public fund all emanate from unwarranted and twisted world outlook that is incompatible with the development needs of this country.
For instance, there is no justifiable reason behind the delay in the implementation of employment generating schemes meant to benefit the youth in this country which constitute over 65 percent of the entire population. Youth vulnerability to undesirable behaviors like drug addiction, negative attitude towards labor, emotionally charged religious fanaticism and other social problems observed among the youth can only be addressed in engaging the youth on various activities that can help them to grow up to manhood as responsible citizens.
In his speech, the president has repeatedly expressed the full political and operational commitment to the fulfillment of all programs and projects which are expected to be completed in the current fiscal year. Government commitment comes from commitment of the leadership and those in public service. This in turn calls for personal commitment. The cumulative efforts of all these actors' leads to collective achievement of planned activities to achieve national objectives set by the government.
In 2010 E. C the prevalence of accountability and the rule of law are the major preconditions that need to be fulfilled if the planned activities are to be effectively accomplished. In particular, government institutions that either mismanage public fund or fail to use resources for the designated activities need to be strictly accountable for their actions.
The HPR is legally responsible to check on the government if all sector institutions are carrying out their duties in line with the national plan and budget earmarked for accomplishing the planned activities. In 2010 E.C, the public would expect an official scrutiny, control and evaluation of the executive branch of the state.
Only over the last 5 years, Ethiopia has managed to lift about 5.3 million people out of the poverty, according to an Interim Report on 2015/16 Poverty Analysis Study.
Such positive results could have doubled had it not been for the recurrent drought and corruption and issues related to maladministration.
According to the President, agriculture accounts for more than 36 percent of the GDP while industry accounts for more than 25 percent and the service sector makes over 39 percent of the GDP.
The transition from agriculture led economy to industry presupposes increases in investments which would ultimately help to boost the export sector.
This is also a year in which a major legal reform is expected in the electoral law of the country as a means of ensuring the participation of various parties in the political system and to expand the political atmosphere to enhance the democratic process in the country.
This is the tenth year as the new Ethiopian Millennium has set in and two more years remain for the completion of GTPII, this indicates that some years remain for the realization of vision 2025 in which Ethiopia expects to reach the target of becoming a mid level developed country.
Creation of a new socio-economic and political community in Ethiopia is in full progress but still there is more to be done if filling the shortfalls and gaps in the entire economic sector and the entire socio-political order.