Public Sector Organizations reforms
Kenya is one of the most ambitious countries in the world. We have a high percentage of citizens who are young and energetic, open to opportunities to make it big not just in Kenya but in the World. However, these opportunities are bottlenecked and destroyed with the acts of poor policy implementation by the government and our number one challenge corruption.
The Government is the most powerful single entity in any country and that is no different in Kenya. Public Sector Organizations (PSOs) are the arms the government uses to attain its mandate and serve its citizens. PSOs comprise of entities that have state ownership, state control, all or major government financing, have a service motive, with public accountability or autonomous bodies
Benefits of Public Sector Organizations
Governments are able to achieve objectives and meet their mandates through Public Sector organizations. The benefits of the PSOs are to;
- Promote social impact – Public services are intended to provide social services that would be too costly for individuals to cater for themselves these services make a real impact on individuals and communities
- Promote equality in citizens through the provision of common services to citizens regardless of diverse backgrounds
- Promote unity in the country through the provision of common services
- Provide employment in countries
- Act as an economic catalyst for a country’s stability
- Enhance the living conditions of the citizens through
With such mandates, the government is the most influential catalyst in a country. All citizens look up to the government from the “Wanjiku” as we call the common citizen to the large corporate and high taxpayers. With PSOs fully enabled to achieve the government’s goals, policy implementation is crucial. While Kenya invests in the most robust policies, the implementation is still wanting.
The Kenyan workforce in the implementation of policies needs to be uplifted. At this point, the government needs independent checkpoints. The specialized private sector experts on government matters are able to advise and offer pointers to the government on the achievements and the progress of its mandate and if diverted bring them back to focus on the goal.
Over the years, the accountability of the PSOs has evolved. The Accounting Officers of the PSOs are still the people with the legal responsibility to ensure that public funds are utilized in an ethical, efficient and productive manner and this can only be measured by the impact citizens acquire. The Constitution of Kenya on the other hand gives every citizen the right to demand such accountability. However, due to the high level of corruption in Kenya, Accounting Officers themselves have been suspected and at times suspended from there offices due to corruption charges. Sadly, it is now evolving that every citizen should practice accountability and be subject to checkpoint. The corruption culture is not just with the government officials but it has become an economic disease in Kenya.
We need to check up on each other and especially on the PSOs. With the non-achievement of goals from PSOs, the citizens become desperate and it becomes a man-eat-man society. If the PSOs work efficiently there would be no need for private schools and hospitals, there would be no cartels in agriculture, food would be both affordable, and farmers’ living standards would be much better than they are. The inflation rate would be reasonable, as the PSOs are the main economic catalyst. There would be no need for the import of goods and services that are readily available including human resources and the unemployment rate would definitely be low. So many social and economic injustices would be eliminated.
How then do we solve this problem? One we as citizens should continuously demand social and economic justice. Citizens need to strongly demand justice and accountability of all PSOs. Through the provisions of the Constitution, citizens need to demand the implementation of favorable policies and refuse unfavorable policies from their viewpoint through avenues such as electing proper legislators and leaders and public participation in lawmaking.
The PSOs consume from the private sector for advice on the bits and pieces of the policies and mandates. This is one of the most effective checkpoints, as the private sector in most cases is independent and wishes to see social and economic justice in the country.
Recommended Public Sector Reforms
The Public Sector reforms are definitely needed and have been long overdue in regards to their implementation. In the journey that PSOs are taking, I suggest the following to assist in strengthening the institutions:
- Personal accountability for public officers – All persons holding public offices should be subject to performance contracts with strict disciplinary actions such as jail time for economic crimes while in office.
- Adherence to governance regulations – With intense policies such as Mwongozo all the PSOs need to do is adhere to the rules and guidelines issues in such a policy. The use of independent private sector governance auditors would come in handy to keep the PSOs in check.
- Abolishment of IPSAS Cash basis Accounting – The PSOs need to all migrate for full accrual basis accounting which will eliminate off the books transactions such as pending bills. With eminent fraud risk on the pending bills, the risk of misstatement of financial statements is high under the cash accounting.
- Digitization of imprest – In any government institution and PSO, the funds used through imprest are always material in terms of audit and use of public funds. The risk of fraud is very high if not the highest in any reporting of financial statements for imprest. The manual system of application, recording, and issuing this cost is in itself a high risk. Just like payroll, PSOs should have a system linked to the bank accounts of the receipients of imprest and to the accounting system with high alert and automatic remedial checks such as a block of recipients from a subsequent imprest if the deadline for the former has passed and immediate deduction from salary on overdue submission obviously with consideration to labor law regulations.
- Decentralization of IFMIS – While the idea of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) for government reporting and accountability is wonderful it is only so in the ideal situation. In reality, the integration is a mess. Hardly do financial systems reports from the PSOs reconcile with those in IFMIS. The major challenge has always been that the PSOs do not have owners’ rights to the system therefore; they always disown the reports from IFMIS. In my view, IFMIS should be an integration of a number of systems. The National Treasury should allow the PSOs to have ERPs that can are compatible with IFMIS and data can be uploaded on a live basis to IFMIS. Therefore, PSOs can own the data in IFMIS.
- Target to be the employer of choice – While the government and PSOs have the greatest opportunity for the recruitment of the graduates coming from the various institutions of education, they are not the first choice for the best candidates. The best candidates always want to jump into the best corporate jobs and it is only at one middle to high-level career point that such graduates would consider government and PSOs as an employer. The reason mainly being the benefits both monetary and non-monetary are less at entry-level. The government and PSOs should strive to get the best candidates as they enter the job market and ensure that they retain them.
In conclusion, I am optimistic that our government a with intentional and measurable reforms in the implementation of policies in the PSOs can cause a major turnaround for Kenya to achieve its greatness and to provide to the citizens social and economic justice that leads to positive impacts in their lives and reach a point of excellent development of our beautiful county Kenya.