Public Sector Reform in Lesotho

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Public sector reform in Lesotho: Challenges, achievements and the way forward

ABSTRACT
THE GOVERNMENT OF LESOTHO EMBARKED UPON A LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM EXERCISE FROM THE EARLY 1990S (PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM AND IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME-PSRIP). IT WAS DRIVEN BY THE REALISATION THAT THE PUBLIC SECTOR WAS BLOATED, INEFFICIENT WITH REGARD TO POOR SERVICE DELIVERY, WITH CORRUPTION CONSTITUTING A DRAIN ON BUDGET. THE INFLUENCE AND ‘PERSUASION’ OF THE WORLD BANK, THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF) AND THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP) PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THIS EXERCISE. PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS WERE NOT ONLY LIMITED TO LESOTHO BUT ALSO TOOK PLACE IN MANY OTHER DEVELOPING AND DEVELOPED COUNTRIES IN THE EARLY 1990S AND ARE STILL CONTINUING UNDER A VARIETY OF NAMES. PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS WERE FIRST INITIATED IN AFRICA DURING THE ERA OF THE SO-CALLED ENHANCED STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAMMES (ESAPS), WHICH ADVOCATED LEANER, EFFICIENT, CUSTOMER-FOCUSED, COST-EFFECTIVE AND ACCOUNTABLE BUREAUCRACIES. PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM IN LESOTHO WAS MEANT TO BE AN ONGOING AND A SELF-SUSTAINING INITIATIVE. IT HAS MET NUMBER OF CHALLENGES AND SOME MEASURE OF SUCCESS. THIS WILL BE AN EXPLORATIVE AND EVALUATIVE PAPER.

POINTERS FOR PRACTITIONERS
POLICY-MAKERS AND IMPLEMENTERS IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE HAVE TO NOTE THAT PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS AIM TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THE CITIZENS. IT SHOULD BE EMPHASISED THAT THESE REFORMS ARE NOT AN END IN THEMSELVES BUT THE MEANS TO ENHANCE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE STEWARD AND THE MASTER (I.E. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES AND THE CITIZENS). REFORMS CARRY WITH THEM HUGE CHALLENGES, BUT WITH SUFFICIENT COMMITMENT (ADMINISTRATIVE AND POLITICAL) THEY HAVE A POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE THE WAY GOVERNMENT CONDUCT ITS BUSINESS. THE MOST CRITICAL INGREDIENT DURING THE PROCESS OF REFORMING THE PUBLIC SECTOR IS THE INCLUSION OF THE CITIZENS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS.

KEYWORDS: ACCOUNTABILITY, CIVIL SOCIETY, CITIZEN PARTICIPATION, CORRUPTION, PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS, PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM

INTRODUCTION
THIS PAPER AIMS TO EVALUATE THE PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN LESOTHO FROM 1993 TO DATE. IT CONTRIBUTES TO THE DISCOURSE ON LESOTHO RESEARCH THAT EVALUATES THE OUTCOMES OF PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM. IT HAS TO BE NOTED THAT THERE IS DEARTH OF LITERATURE ON THIS SUBJECT IN LESOTHO AND IT RENDERS THIS STUDY EXPLORATIVE. BOYNE ET AL. (2003) ARGUES THAT ‘THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE FOCUS ON THE IMPACT OF NEW ARRANGEMENTS [REFORMS] FOR PUBLIC SERVICE PROVISION...IT IS TIME TO MAKE AN ASSESSMENT OF THE OUTCOMES OF PUBLIC SERVICE REFORMS.’ IT HAS TO BE POINTED OUT FROM THE OUTSET THAT THERE WILL BE NO ATTEMPT TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THE TERM ‘CIVIL SERVICE’, ‘PUBLIC SECTOR’ AND ‘PUBLIC SERVICE’ IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM IN LESOTHO. THIS IS BECAUSE SCHOLARS AND PRACTITIONERS ON THIS SUBJECT HAVE USED AND CONTINUE TO USE THESE WORDS INTERCHANGEABLY (KERAUDREN, 1995; ZHU, 1995; HOPE, 2001; POLIDANO, 2001; MONTERIO, 2002; TENENTE, 2003; AAPAM, 2006; OMOFEYA 2008). THEREFORE, PUBLIC SECTOR OR CIVIL SERVICE IN THIS PAPER SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD TO ALSO MEAN PUBLIC SERVICE. AS A BACKGROUND FOR THIS PAPER, A SNAPSHOT OF THE HISTORICAL, POLITICAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC MILIEU OF LESOTHO WILL BE PROVIDED. SECONDLY, THE DEFINITION OF PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM WILL BE PROVIDED. THIS WILL BE COMBINED WITH A BRIEF EVALUATION REPORT OF PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS PROGRAMMES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. THIRDLY, AN ATTEMPT WILL BE MADE TO DELINEATE THE FOCUS AND OBJECTIVES OF PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM IN LESOTHO. FOURTHLY, THE CHALLENGES THAT HAVE A BEARING ON PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS IN LESOTHO WILL BE ENUMERATED. FIFTHLY, THE ACHIEVEMENTS THAT WERE REALISED, AS A DIRECT CONSEQUENCE OF PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM, WILL BE TABLED. FINALLY, THE WAY FORWARD TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF LESOTHO WILL BE SUGGESTED.

THE HISTORICAL, POLITICAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC BACKGROUND OF LESOTHO LESOTHO IS...
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