As government forges ahead with the transformation agenda, whose key aspect is decentralisation, the ministry of local government this week held a three-day transformation symposium in Maun to discuss the key areas of the agenda.
Minister Kgotla Autlwetse in his keynote address highlighted the recipients of government services deserve effective and efficient services that respond to and address their needs.
“The social and economic viability of our rural communities is vital to keeping up the gains Botswana has made so far and to progress as a nation. Transformation will therefore help revitalize local economies and improve people’s livelihoods,” Autlwetse told those in attendance.
That Botswana has changed drastically was not in question, however Autlwetse was of the view that the change has been unprecedented government structures needed to put on shock resistant measures that can withstand and sufficiently meet the demands of the times and the general populace.
He said there is need, now more than ever for modernised systems of delivery that are results oriented, high-quality while keeping all actors accountable.
Transformation remains at the forefront of guiding the ministry’s operations because it forms an important part of the government’s Reset Agenda, which is committed to a more efficient government and places economic empowerment of citizens at the centre of Botswana’s economic growth.
“A key aspect of transformation is decentralisation. Decentralisation will empower local Governments to handle local matters, leaving central government with the important work of policy formulation and enforcement. This national reform is critical as it seeks to achieve administrative expediency and enhance citizen’s participation by transferring decision making powers and resources to Administrative Districts and their people,” Autlwetse highlighted.
He also noted that government systems that are aligned to best practices, modern and efficient, and that can be tracked and measured to determine their effectiveness, further echoing that local communities deserve to be empowered: trusting people to make more decisions about specific things that affect them at local level.
Most importantly, Autlwetse is alive to the facts that, “Batswana will improve if we offer them government services and interfaces that make the most of the digital offerings of the twenty-first century, that use cutting-edge technology to reduce turnaround times, eliminate long journeys, and provide services more quickly.”
Thus digital transformation remains an important part of transformation is critical to ensure service providers meet the demands of modern times and encourage the citizenry to use technology to access services.
He further claimed that at the heart of his ministry is care for the people, adding that transformation includes attending to the development of a shock-resistant social protection system that can rise to the occasion regardless of whatever disruptions, changes, and challenges the ministry faced.
“As the ministry we are the best ambassadors for transformation. As we work with our colleagues in other ministries, in the private sector, and with the public at large, it is our belief in transformation and our commitment to the process that will encourage the rest of the country to support this defining moment for our nation,” the minister further committed.
Provision of quality service and development was highlighted as a collective responsibility.
“As district leadership, you therefore need to facilitate those under your charge by providing strategic direction. Without your diligent work in this Ministry, orphans do not receive their food baskets. Without your efforts, old age pensioners go without necessities, and economic activity grinds to a halt without permits and licenses. Because of your attention to detail and hard work, services are provided, and lives are improved,” the minister pleaded.
Autlwetse called on leadership in the transformation agenda to embark on an exercise to identify talent, tap on the potential and appreciate innovation, creativity and effort in order to enhance transformation efforts.