The Sunday Mail
In July 2015, President Mugabe mandated Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko to superintend Government policy co-ordination and implementation on top of heading the National Healing and Reconciliation portfolio. Our News Editor Morris Mkwate engaged VP Mphoko on his latest brief, looking at how Zimbabwe can move from policy formulation to implementation. We publish VP Mphoko in his own words.
* * *
I am greatly honoured by the trust His Excellency the President has bestowed on me by giving me additional responsibilities.
When His Excellency initially appointed me as one of the Vice Presidents of the Republic of Zimbabwe, he gave me the responsibility to supervise the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster, the Social Services and Poverty Eradication Cluster and ministries that fall under the two clusters.
The focus on the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster includes:
(i) Development of a robust, elaborate and resilient infrastructure which will catalyse the growth of the Zimbabwean economy. Making (the economy) competitive on the world stage is important; and
(ii) Rehabilitation of infrastructural assets and the recovery of utility services in water and sanitation, public amenities, ICTs, energy and power supply, and transport.
The focus on the Social Services and Poverty Eradication Cluster is to enable Government to improve the living standards of the citizenry, resulting in an empowered society and a growing economy.
This means tackling and reversing the near-collapse of public service delivery, deterioration of public infrastructure, poverty and massive skills flight that Zimbabwe has experienced in the last decade.
The Social Services and Poverty Eradication Cluster has the following programme areas that are integrated vertically and horizontally with programmes of other clusters:
◆ Human capital development
◆ Indigenisation and economic empowerment
◆ Access to water and sanitation
◆ Access to land and agricultural inputs
◆ Employment creation
◆ Gender mainstreaming
◆ Resource mobilisation
◆ Alignment of legislation to the new Constitution.
President Mugabe also gave me the responsibility to promote peace and reconciliation. When he reshuffled Cabinet in July 2015, he gave me the portfolio of Policy Co-ordination and Implementation.
Within this portfolio, he clearly identified five core functions which I have to focus on and ensure they are implemented.
These functions are:
1. Co-ordinate, and monitor the implementation of Zim-Asset;
2. Provide regular performance reports to the President and Cabinet on implementation of Cabinet decisions and Zim-Asset;
3. Provide leadership and guidance in the implementation of client service charters in order to build a public sector that is citizen-oriented and responsive to their needs;
4. Co-ordinate provision and execution of a publicity strategy on Government programmes and projects; and
5. Co-ordinate, and monitor implementation of the Corporate Governance Framework to build a public sector that has good ethical standards of conduct including zero tolerance to corruption.
Policy co-ordination and implementation is the heart and engine of Government’s overall service delivery system.
The methodology and delivery vehicle is Zim-Asset, which the President has reinforced through the 10-Point Economic Growth Plan.
My supervisory role of Zim-Asset, Policy Co-ordination and Implementation as well as promotion of Peace, National Healing and Reconciliation is basically that of oversight of Government ministries and institutions whose core business is the implementation of these deliverables.
The Chief Secretary and the three Deputy Chief Secretaries share the overall supervision of Government business implemented by ministries, parastatals and other institutions.
There is the Deputy Chief Secretary responsible for Public Sector Modernisation, Performance Management and Administration.
Another is responsible for Policy Formulation Co-ordination and Analysis, while the other is responsible for Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation.
On policy co-ordination and implementation, His Excellency established the Ministry of Policy Co-ordination and Promotion of Social Economic Ventures in the President’s Office, whose minister is Hon Simon Khaya Moyo.
This ministry is Government’s vehicle of ensuring policies are well co-ordinated to ensure they have the intended outcomes in service delivery.
His Excellency proclaimed the Government service delivery trajectory when he launched Zim-Asset, which is the national economic blueprint for an empowered society and a growing economy.
He then reinforced Zim-Asset through the 10-Point Economic Growth Plan which focuses on implementation of Zim-Asset clusters.
Policy areas of focus include:
◆ Human capital development
◆ Indigenisation and economic empowerment
◆ Social services and poverty eradication
◆ Infrastructure development i.e. energy and power supply
◆ Employment creation
◆ Access to land and development of agriculture
◆ Exploitation of natural resources including minerals.
The reason for focusing on and prioritising policies on the above is very clear: Implementation of these policies will improve the lives of the Zimbabwean people.
Development of human resources, which results in a very skilled workforce across the economic spectrum will result in the exploitation of our rich natural resources and mineral wealth.
A skilled workforce will also ensure food security and good health standards.
A healthy nation is a productive and happy nation.
Policy co-ordination and implementation ensures that Zimbabwe works efficiently and effectively. My overarching vision in this portfolio is integrating ministries towards effective delivery of their mandates, which, collectively, will ensure the Zimbabwean economy is revived and the lives of Zimbabweans are greatly improved.
My plan for Policy Co-ordination and Implementation is to ensure ministries develop clear implementation strategies of their mandates and set realistic targets to achieve their goals.
This requires setting up of a clear, result-based monitoring strategy with milestones and standards to measure the performance of ministers and their ministries. The supervisory and monitoring systems are there.
A National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy is in place and operational.
The policy was developed to enhance the implementation of Zim-Asset by providing clear guidelines for the conduct of monitoring and evaluation of all Government programmes and projects.
The policy ensures management of public resources professionally to guarantee accountability, transparency and quality of service delivery.
My role is to ensure supervisors at all levels within Government carry out their tasks effectively and efficiently. This is results-based management.
My approach is hands-on; whether it is holding of review meetings with ministers and their permanent secretaries or visiting projects in the provinces across the country to assess their implementation and to find out what needs to be done to accelerate their completion and commissioning.
In the past, policy implementation was hampered by lack of policy clarity and thrust, lack of ownership and appreciation of the policies by the stakeholders, duplication and overlapping of policies as well as lack of adequate consultation before the policy is enunciated.
All these factors militated against the effective and efficient policy formulation and implementation.
However, Government is seized with ensuring policies that will get Zimbabwe working again are formulated and implemented.
Government has developed a policy analysis template that gives clear guidelines on policy formulation and development, as well as policy analysis.
The current Government focus is on reviving the economy through attracting investment in the short, medium and long term.
Government is working on policies and plans that will ensure Zimbabwe becomes an attractive investment destination.
Government has already embarked on a programme of developing strategies on the ease of doing business. This programme has been looking at all legislation that hitherto has turned away investors and reviewing it to reduce the time, and prohibitive costs that have made Zimbabwe an unattractive investment destination.
Further, Government has also taken the initiative to drastically reform the business environment through legal, regulatory and administrative instruments.
My role of oversight of this policy co-ordination and implementation portfolio, dovetails into my supervisory role of the implementation of Zim-Asset and the 10-Point Economic Growth Plan.
It is no longer business as usual. Ministers have to work hard and achieve results that will make Zimbabwe an attractive investment destination.
They have to achieve results that will improve the livelihoods of Zimbabweans. We are targeting employment creation, the exploitation of our natural resources, including mineral wealth and beneficiation.
It is my role to ensure the enablers of policy implementation are in place.
These include development of infrastructure, provision of water, energy and power, health delivery, human resource and skills development, revision of prohibitive legislation and the enactment of new laws that are pro-business development and investment promotion.
The VP will ensure Government tender processes are strictly adhered to and that there is transparency in the process of awarding tenders.
Any impropriety in the awarding of tenders will not be tolerated. Where reports of impropriety are made, these will have to be thoroughly investigated by the State’s law enforcement arms.
Any officials implicated in acts of impropriety will face the full wrath of the law. It is absolutely important that tender procedures are followed strictly.
The enactment of a new Procurement Bill will incorporate Comesa procurement guidelines which emphasise devolution of power to award tenders to procuring entities.
The procuring entities will comprise Government ministries, parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities.
Government is to take a leading role in the creation of employment for its citizens and hence the resuscitation of industries in the country is crucial.
The crafting of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation two years ago was an effort to achieve, among other things, this objective.
This economic blueprint is people-centred and bound to bring about a positive transformation to people’s lives.
The major stumbling block in the implementation of this blueprint could be corruption, if it is left unchecked.
For Zimbabwe to benefit from the fruits of Zim-Asset, Government has to come up with tight measures and descend heavily to fight this disease called corruption.
Corruption invariably endangers the morals of the entire country. I wonder what it would be like if people could simply do business without the need to bribe someone to get a simple trading licence. Our nation is bleeding; the wounds of corruption are everywhere.
It is imperative that Government does everything in its power otherwise the people will not benefit from Government’s many people-oriented programmes. The good intentions of our policies could simply be eroded by corruption.
This can be very costly to the country. Because of this, there will be zero tolerance to all forms of corruption. Where cases involving corruption occur, therefore, the State’s law enforcement agencies must be used and the law must take its course.
Various programs and initiatives can be used to fight corruption.
◆ Civil servants training programme collaboration with Anti Corruption agencies
◆ Public awareness campaigns
◆ Using a National Code for Corporate Governance
◆ Code of Corporate Governance in parastatals.
From the onset, we have always strived to maintain a professional and cordial working relationship with all ministers of Government.
As mentioned earlier, after my appointment as one of the two Vice-Presidents, I was initially assigned oversight role over the two Zim-Asset clusters – Infrastructure and Utilities as well as Social Services and Poverty Eradication.
As a result of this mandate, a maiden consultative meeting was held on May 20, 2015 with ministers of ministries that fall under the Infrastructure and Utilities and Social Services and Poverty Eradication clusters.
The purpose of this meeting was to establish the modus operandi between the Vice-President’s Office and ministers, with regard to the implementation of Zim-Asset by ministries, parastatals and State enterprises that fall under their ambit.
It was agreed that quarterly meetings were to be convened, where progress reports on policy implementation and review on the implementation of Zim-Asset were to be received.
With the additional responsibility of ensuring Government policy co-ordination and implementation, the new mandate cuts across all line ministries, which entails interfacing with all ministers of Government.
This new role can only be successfully achieved through constant and consistent consultations with the ministers and feedback to the principal, His Excellency the President, in whose Office he serves, and strives to fulfill its mandate of delivering the promises made to the people of Zimbabwe through creation of robust synergies and promoting both vertical and horizontal linkages with all key players in the implementation of Government policies.
This is also through ensuring policy consistency and facilitating elimination of bottlenecks to achieve effective service delivery and customer satisfaction.
I was cognisant of the fact that a Revamped Zim-Asset Implementation and Coordination Architecture was in place, for the purpose of ensuring effective implementation of Zim-Asset by all key stakeholders.
The Office of the President and Cabinet was the hub of this co-ordination, as encapsulated in its Mission: To lead the entire Government machinery in formulation and implementation of policies, programmes and projects.
The quarterly meetings between my office and ministers were the apex tier of the Implementation and Co-ordination Architecture outside Cabinet.
Below this tier is the technical tier – the Steering Committee – chaired by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
The Steering Committee also meets quarterly and comprises Government and Private Sector Zim-Asset Cluster co-chairpersons.
On the Government side, permanent secretaries are the cluster co-chairpersons. The third tier is the Zim-Asset Joint Review Committee, chaired by one of the deputy chief secretaries and it meets monthly.
Its membership comprises Government and Private Sector Zim-Asset Cluster co-chairpersons.
The fourth tier is the Zim-Asset Cluster meetings – chaired by Zim-Asset Cluster co-chairpersons and comprises permanent secretaries, Zim-Asset focal persons of line ministries, private sector representation, development partners (UN, World Bank, IMF and AfDB), NGO representation and the academia.
It is worthy note that successful implementation of Zim-Asset requires maximum support, active participation and cooperation of all parties in the public and private sectors, development partners and NGOs.
Reports generated in the Zim-Asset Cluster meetings are fed into the Zim-Asset Joint Review Committee. Likewise, reports generated from the Zim-Asset Joint Review Committee are fed into the Quarterly Steering Committee meetings.
Subsequently, the generated reports are fed into the Vice-President’s and ministers’ quarterly meetings where policy issues are adequately dealt with.
In addition, I also conduct field visits to monitor and evaluate implemented projects in the company of responsible ministers and relevant key stakeholders for validation purposes.
Through this approach, accountability will become enhanced throughout the public sector, thereby improving the intended service delivery.
I subscribe to the tenets of the results-based management system. RBM focuses on results and keeps the player’s eyes focused on the ball.
Implementing agencies are made accountable and to account for every resource used, matched with the results. Government embraced the RBM System in 2005.
As a result of this adoption of this system, public sector performance slightly improved. The slow progress in the full implementation of RBM was mainly attributed to internal factors.
The poor performance of the public sector was caused by, among others, a weak policy value chain that includes the absence of a Results-Based Integrated Development Plan, non-practicing of results-based budgeting and the absence of a Result-Based Monitoring and Evaluation Policy.
Implementation of Zim-Asset economic is set to transform the economy.
The plan is cluster-based and premised on the RBM system to ensure tangible results are achieved for the people. The development of the Zim-Asset Prioritised Action Plan 2015 was a move in the right direction.
This meant that programme-based budgeting will become feasible, as clusters will have to work in sync to achieve a desired goal.
As a result, Zimbabwe will move towards full implementation of results-based budgeting, upon which future national budgets will be premised.
In view of the foregoing, the President apportioned his two Vice-Presidents oversight on ministries grouped under Zim-Asset clusters for speedy implementation of the blueprint and to come up with tangible results for the people of Zimbabwe.
These overarching roles are further buttressed by the establishment of departments in the Office of the President and Cabinet that ensure implementation of Zim-Asset and mainstream the RBM system in all Government operations.
The departments include Public Sector Modernisation and Performance Management, Policy Analysis and Co-ordination, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation, Corporate Governance and Delivery Unit, and Public Affairs and Knowledge Management.
Government has also adopted a well-consulted National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy.
It is a fact that successful results oriented public sectors the world over have been leveraging on robust M&E systems underpinned by Monitoring and Evaluation policies.
The Constitution’s Governance Chapter 2, Section 9(1) espouses that “the State must adopt and implement policies and legislation to develop efficiency, competence, accountability, transparency, personal integrity and financial probity in all institutions and agencies of Government at every level and in every public institution . . .”
This can only be realised on the backdrop of an effectively utilised and robust RBM system.
The VP’s Office, together with the above referred to departments created in the OPC will ensure the RBM system is fully integrated in all Government operations.
Besides the consultative meetings held with ministers whose portfolios fall under my purview, I have toured all the rural provinces, save for Masvingo and Mashonaland East, which are still outstanding and to be completed before end of October 2015.
In these provincial familiarisation tours, we held consultative meetings with the political, traditional and industry leadership.
We were very much alert on whether Cabinet decisions were reaching the grassroots and received correct interpretation; and whether goods and services of certain Government programmes reached the intended beneficiaries.
In each province, selected companies/projects were visited and consultative meetings held with stakeholders.
In some companies, instant assessments were made on the infrastructure, with a view to recommending recapitalisation. My office has been inundated with land and mining-related issues.
I was also impressed by the remarkable efforts being made by some local manufacturing companies such as Quest Motors, which was the first motor vehicle assembler to adopt the Look East Policy.
More than 20 downstream companies supplied local components needed in the car manufacturing industry, with a potential of generating 30 000 jobs in the local motor industry.
Notwithstanding these successes, it was observed that efforts to accelerate Zim-Asset implementation were being constrained by the following:
(a) Some State enterprises such as Mhangura Copper Mine and Golden Kopje Mine, which fall under the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, were in an appalling state of neglect;
(b) Some industries, including Feruka Oil Refinery, had obsolete machinery that would be more expensive to refurbish than commissioning a new plant;
(c) A lot of skills gaps in the public sector as a result of brain drain. As a result, some key and critical departments are understaffed and, in turn, unable to deliver as per expectations;
(d) Zim-Asset clusters are not meeting regularly as expected;
(e) Some of the Zim-Asset Prioritised Action Plan 2015 programmes and projects are yet to be implemented due to inadequate funding. As a result, key enablers of the economy were still not fully optimised;
(f) Core departments in the OPC responsible for driving the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Zim-Asset plan need to be capacitated to enable them to execute their oversight role more efficiently and effectively;
(g) Speedy feedback on implementation of the Zim-Asset Prioritised Action Plan for 2015 needs to be enhanced through E-enabled M& E;
(h) Fiscal space – National Budget allocations are generally insufficient as a consequence of the constrained fiscal space;
(i) Infrastructure inadequacies – outdated and deteriorating infrastructure continues to hamper economic activities;
(k) Human resource capacity – gaps in personnel as a result of the freezing of posts in the public sector are affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of project and programme implementation across all sectors; and
(I) Inter-ministerial synergies – insufficient collaboration among ministries may result in inadequate resources availed for development being spread thinly.