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Supporting Decentralization as an Entry Point for Governance Reform in Sierra Leone Yongmei Zhou (AFTPR) Decentralizatio PowerPoint Presentation
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Supporting Decentralization as an Entry Point for Governance Reform in Sierra Leone Yongmei Zhou (AFTPR) Decentralizatio

Supporting Decentralization as an Entry Point for Governance Reform in Sierra Leone Yongmei Zhou (AFTPR) Decentralizatio

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Supporting Decentralization as an Entry Point for Governance Reform in Sierra Leone Yongmei Zhou (AFTPR) Decentralizatio

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  1. Supporting Decentralization as an Entry Point for Governance Reform in Sierra LeoneYongmei Zhou (AFTPR)Decentralization TG Presentation, Mar 7 2007

  2. Sierra Leone: a poor post-conflict country • Civil war (1991-2002) displaced half of population, caused 20,000 death, and destroyed infrastructure and social capital • 176th out of 177 in UN HDI ranking • Infant mortality: 166 out of 1000; SSA average: 101; world average 57. • Under-5 mortality: 284 out of 1000; SSA average: 171; world average 86. • Life expectancy 37; SSA average: 46; world average: 67. • Adult literacy: 36%; SSA average: 71%; world average 80% • Weak governance and rampant corruption

  3. A high-stake bet • 2004, World Bank $25m for Institutional Reform and Capacity Building Project • 2006, DfID and EU gave a $25m trust fund to the World Bank to top up IRCBP • 2005, JSDF $2m for strengthening community collective action & engagement with local councils • 2005, PHRD grant $900,000 for strengthening leadership of the decentralization process • Existing social action project (NSAP, 2003-2008, $35m) adopts a strategy to support decentralization and strengthen local council capacity • 2007: Accelerated Child Survival Project ($35m) to strengthen gov health grant system and LCs capacity to deliver

  4. Why betting on a decentralization-driven governance reform program?

  5. Some criteria for a good entry point for governance reform • A good thing to do • A good time to do it • Some influential people lose sleep over it • Can lead to visible and quick enough improvement in something that people care about • Can generate further momentum and expand constituency for longer-term governance transformation Q: Was devolution a good entry point in the Sierra Leone context?

  6. A good thing to do, at least in theory • Addressing a root cause of the civil war – centralization of power and resources and resultant inequality and rampant corruption. • Opening space for political participation • More transparent and equitable resource allocation across districts • Bringing resource closer to frontline providers and hopefully better delivery • Bringing the state closer to citizens and hopefully building state legitimacy

  7. Bad roads and poor communication make a small country too “big” to govern from Freetown This map is based on GIS data for Sierra Leone. Road density is calculated as the km of road per square km of land in each chiefdom. The roads that have available GIS data are major A and B roads.

  8. Window of opportunity & just-in-time support • IRCBP preparation phase coincided with GoSL preparation for LG legislation and elections • Immediate engagement with newly elected LCs • Start a virtuous cycle

  9. MoF counting on fiscal decentralization to improve effectiveness of public spending • Sustained efforts to improve effectiveness of public spending in the past decade (see PFM reform history) • MoF frustrated with pervasive leakages of resources • PETS 2002: less than 10% of all essential drugs could be accounted for by District Medical Officers; less than 5% of all essential drugs were accounted for by periphery health units. • PETS 2002: only 72% teaching and learning materials reached the intended schools from District Edu Offices, arriving 170 days later than contracted. • PETS 2003: Receipt of seed rice: 8% before planting season; 35% during planting season; 57% after planting season • Establish Local Gov Finance Department to focus on fiscal decentralization

  10. IRCBP and partners work on conditions for effective local governance Central government enabling conditions allowing fiscal and administrative autonomy, adequate & predictable transfers, refrain from political interference, domestic accountability mechanisms Local government capacity and governance practice Citizen and business engagement open and accountable local political process, civil society and media oversight, public-private partnership Community collective action

  11. Do it in a way that expands constituency and opens more doors

  12. Building constituency for decentralization through LC Rapid Results Initiatives • Immediately after LC elections, central government challenged and supported each LC to identify, design, and implement one Rapid Result Initiative that was • Urgent and compelling • Visible – people will notice the difference • Can be translated into real impact in 100 days • MLGCD Decentralization Secretariat provided coaches • MoF disbursed Local Government Development Grant four months after elections

  13. LCs did not disappoint • LCs RRIs tackled diverse development issues: water, sanitation, feeder roads, bridges, traffic, rice production, post-harvest loss. Examples of results: • Travel time between Sewafe and Peya of Nimiyama Chiefdom of Kono District reduced from 1hr to 15 minutes and transportation cost reduced from Le 5,000 ($1.75) to Le 2,000 (70 cents). • Increase the availability of high-yield quick-harvest Inner Valley Swamp Rice seeds in Pujehun Districtby 4,000 bushels within 90 days • Ensure the availability of safe and portable drinking water in the mains and laterals and 25 public taps in the Moyamba township within 90 days. • Total volume of Garbage in two lorry parks and two markets in Kenema Township reduced by 90% within 95 days. • Cheaper and faster than MDA projects

  14. LCs RRIs to generate a virtuous cycle

  15. And preventing a vicious cycle of deteriorating local governance

  16. Sector RRIs to give credibility to sector devolution • Sector staff performing functions related to primary health, crops/livestock, DEC schools received orientation of the Rapid Results Approach. • RRIs developed by sector teams • Local council sector committees would monitor the progress of the sector RRIs: accountability and partnership between politicians and professionals. • Each RRI team would include members from beneficiary communities

  17. Are purse-holders aware of LG achievement and willing to further empower progressive LGs?

  18. MoF now treats grants to LCs as high-priority spending

  19. Although timing of transfers remain to be improved

  20. Lobbying Accountant General to simplify transfer process • Cumbersome bureaucracy needed urgent reform: for every quarterly payment of every grant to 19 councils, 237 are required before a payment can be made. 237 signatures per grant per quarter * 14 grants * 4 quarterly payments/grant = 13,272 signatures! • Recently consolidated grants and forms

  21. Some donors considering using GoSL grants system for resource transfer • World Bank and DfID health sector support to top up financing GoSL LC grants system, improving M&E, supporting district health management teams to implement their sector plans and budget • DfID water sector support to follow similar approach • World Bank and DfID/EC co-financing the block grant for LCs (Local Gov Dev Grant): allow LCs discretions and build in incentive in grant allocation formula.

  22. Need to continue expanding constituency for decentralization

  23. Did it turn out to be a good thing to do? • Is devolution bringing the state closer to people? • Are LGs responsive and accountable? • Does devolution improve access to and quality of services? • Does improvement in public services increase citizens’ trust in government? • Does improvement in public services lead to improvement in tax compliance? • Will high-performing councilors have more promising political career? • Will more competent and committed people stand for LG elections in 2008?

  24. Building LCs capacity is not the hardest part

  25. LCs meeting some min standards for governance practice Source: Comprehensive Local Government Performance Assessment (Nov 2006) Legend 5minimum conditions 4minimum conditions 3minimum conditions 2minimum conditions 0-1minimum conditions 7 Minimum conditions • Financial management • Development planning • Budgeting and accounting • Procurement • Transparency and accountability • Project implementation • Functional capacity of LG

  26. LCs adopting good governance practices, many not yet adopted by ministries Source: Comprehensive Local Government Performance Assessment (Nov 2006) Legend 70 - 88points 60 - 69 points 50 - 59points 30 - 49points Performance measures • Management, organization and institutional structures • Transparency, openness, participation and accountability • Planning systems and project implementation, M&E • Human resource management • Financial management, budgeting and accounting • Fiscal capacity and local revenue mobilization • Procurement and contract management

  27. District Medical Officers embraced decentralization • Primary health service delivery responsibilities devolved to LCs in 2005, along with tried grants • DMO is part of LC Management Team and a co-signatory of LC health grant account • DMO enjoys operational autonomy “Decentralization has stopped the tide of brain drain among medical professionals because we now have interesting work to do.” “Decentralization allows us to quickly respond to disease outbreaks. We don’t have to wait for the ministry.” “Decentralization means if I have a problem I can knock on the doors of our council rather than sitting on a long bench in Youyi Building for a week and waiting for an audience with a ministry official.”

  28. Health Care Services at PHUs did not deteriorate after devolution in 2005Source: IRCBP Health Clinics Surveys 2005-2006

  29. Health Care Services at PHUs did not deteriorate after devolution in 2005 (continued)Source: IRCBP Health Clinics Surveys 2005-2006

  30. Stimulating citizen demand for good governance is easier said than done

  31. Performance comparison, peer learning, and political competition • Hypothesis: with a good communication program, comparative performance data can serve as • Stimulant for peer learning and performance improvement • Trigger for political competition and civic activism • Whether disseminating comparative performance information among electorates will affect political fortune of councilors remain to be seen.

  32. Good-practice LCs get award from MLGCd and bonus grants from MoF, but are people asking their laggard LCs tough questions? Legend 70 - 88points 60 - 69 points 50 - 59points 30 - 49points Performance measures • Management, organization and institutional structures • Transparency, openness, participation and accountability • Planning systems and project implementation, M&E • Human resource management • Financial management, budgeting and accounting • Fiscal capacity and local revenue mobilization • Procurement and contract management

  33. Are people wondering why councils are paying such different prices for similar furniture?

  34. Rural people start knowing their councilors but they are far more familiar with their chiefs

  35. Gender and age gaps in political awareness, activism and confidenceSource: GoBifo/IRCBP/ENCISS joint household survey in Bombali District and Bonthe District (Dec 2005)

  36. Whether devolution can sustain itself and lead to wider governance reform remains to be seen • Will local politicians fight against recentralization attempts? • Will competition among local governments give pressure for performance improvement? • Will local political markets allow for more credible alternatives to emerge for future national elections? • Can culture of inclusion and accountability be built from below?

  37. What next?Four tough nuts to crack

  38. 1. Need the missing leg of the stool

  39. Lack of HRM reform progress in central gov poses binding constraints on decentralization • Lack of applicants for LC jobs, despite more attractive monetary offers than central gov equivalent positions • Main concerns: career prospect, job security • Recommend • Allow mobility between civil service and LG service • Work with tertiary institutions and professional organizations to establish curriculum, certificate, diploma and “flood” the market with talents central and local gov need • Same constraint as 2003: leadership?

  40. 2. Will LCs ever be self-sustainable?

  41. 3. Traditional authorities & elected local councils • Lack of policy clarity on roles and responsibilities indicates a deeper ambivalence among political elites

  42. 4. PIU & government bureaucracy • IRCBP project team is entirely contract staff (all Sierra Leone national) • Performance and incentive far exceeds that of parent ministries (MoF, MLGCD)  Tension & policy and operational bottleneck • Will integration be possible?