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Public Sector Reform in Lesotho

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Public Sector Reform in Lesotho

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  • December 2012
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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,...

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