Editor's Comment

Take decisions seriously, or leave

Government complex.

CABINET meets almost every week to discuss various issues for the good of the nation.
Cabinet meetings, attended by ministers and permanent secretaries, receive several recommendations which are discussed at length.
Cabinet at its sittings makes a lot of decisions to make the lives of Zambians better. However, it is like once some officials leave the meeting room, the task of implementation evaporates in thin air and no-one follows it up. This is why some resolutions have not been implemented.
Yet implementation has to start after the resolutions by the responsible ministries following the release of the Cabinet memo.
But it appears most of the decisions Cabinet has made have been shelved and may be gathering dust in some offices because nobody has bothered to actualise them.
That is why Secretary to the Cabinet Simon Miti is concerned over the slow pace of implementing key decisions approved by Cabinet during meetings.
Dr Miti said that decisions made by Cabinet are important to the social and economic development of the country, hence the need to expeditiously implement them.
When he officiated at the Seventh Senior Public Service Management meeting in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Miti cited the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which received overwhelming public approval.
This is because the legalisation of marijuana cultivation has many serious public implications. The public has been waiting for guidelines from the responsible ministries.
Other resolutions made by Cabinet recently include the disposal of stockpiles of ivory, land titling and consolidation of investment and empowerment funds.
All these have not been actualised and are an indictment on the ministries responsible.
He has since implored deputy secretaries to the Cabinet to ensure that the resolutions by Cabinet are implemented this year without further delay.
The Secretary to Cabinet must be commended for making this timely observation.
He must be encouraged to keep officers on their toes so that there are no delays in implementation of decisions. One single delay can cause a major negative impact on the economy.
Many of the decisions made by Cabinet are policies meant to enhance service delivery. A delay in implementation has adverse effects on the economy on one hand and also may cause a lack of needed service on the other hand.
There is need to put in place a system that transitions due diligence to make sure actions are taken on what is supposed to be done.
The onus is also on the various supervisors in ministries and government departments and indeed the rest of the workers in the public service.
The best workers are those that perform well without close supervision. They are given a task and they perform it well and within the given deadlines.
Such are workers that should be maintained if implementation of decisions is to become a norm rather than an exception.
Zambia cannot afford to continue having conversations of laisse faire attitudes. Zambia should instead be having heated but progressive debates on expansion of implemented projects.
There is no doubt that Zambians can manage the implementation of decisions made. In any case, the decisions follow the input of the technocrats. So there is no reason why the same technocrats and other officers cannot effect what they recommend.
Understandably, the public service is so multi-layered that information flow is at times complicated. Sometimes, rules and regulations are interpreted differently by different officers resulting in paralysis of decision-making.
There is no reason why such should happen. The guidelines should be clear, unambiguous. If this is in place, individual officers must be tasked with implementation and taken to task if decisions are not implemented. There should be no hesitation to part company with those that either deliberately or incompetently fail to deliver on the tasks.

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