Murtala Balogun, the Special Adviser to the President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, has urged African governments to take the pulses of public agencies periodically to establish the root causes of performance shortfalls and the measures needed to enhance performance standards.

In a paper he presented at an online forum sponsored by the Rabat-based IAC-CAFRAD, he noted that before the onset of COVID-19, access to essential services had been restricted in many African countries.

Performance deficits constantly widened due to, among other factors, budget constraints; the absence of a “customer” care culture in public agencies; the failure to set, and adhere to output, cost, time, and quality standards; workflow and service perimeter design challenges; data gaps and archiving weaknesses; and ethical violations. The pandemic soon made a bad situation worse, what with its impact on business continuity, working hours, and supply chain blueprints.

To make up for the COVID-19 losses and simultaneously record noticeable gains in economic growth, poverty eradication and good governance, Mr Balogun, a professor, advised African States to focus attention not only on broad constitutional issues like devolution, power sharing, human rights, and resource control, but also on the continuous enhancement of agency governance standards. This calls for periodic but proactive diagnoses of practices, processes, and attitudes in public as well as private sector agencies.

He further called on the Pan African Conference of Public Service Ministers and the African Union to collaborate with African Governments and select regional and international organizations on the establishment a Working Group on Agency Governance Research and Training.

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