|Wednesday, 28 April 2010 17:56|
Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform (MINFOPRA)
The Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform has as primary function the management of the professions of civil servants and the modernisation of the public service in view of adapting it to the constant transformation of our society and the world at large. Its history is punctuated by development which is mostly observed through its name and the transformation of the structures under its trusteeship.
As far as the name given to the Ministry is concerned, one can count eight (08) different names and twenty nine (29) heads of department from 1957 to 2010. As far as the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) is concerned, there have been two (02) names and thirteen (13) Directors. As for the Higher Institute of Public Management (ISMP), its name has been maintained since creation and five (05) Directors have run the institution.
The meaning given to our administration was the reason behind several reforms, one coming after another in a successive manner. From one reform to another, the problem remained the same: that of knowing how to make the administration more efficient and rendering quality services to its users and contributing in improving their living conditions.
Generally, three important periods can be identified as having punctuated the different transformations of this ministerial department. The first one was characterised by the State’s involvement as investor and lasted from 1960 till about 1985. The second period which covers the period running from 1985 to 2000 was marked by the unexpected occurrence of the economic crisis with the main option being the setting up of rules and control of finances. The third was marked by the institution of a management approach more concerned with obtaining results.
I – The State’s Investments (1960-1985)
During this period, Administration was the driving force behind development. The national and international contexts were marked by an economic expansion materialised by a yearly automatic increase of the Administration’s budget, its personnel and structures throughout “sporadic” reorganisations. The Administration was the biggest employer. The ministry in charge of Public Service experienced some changes in its name and the ministers who managed it.
From 1959 to 1984, 21 ministers were appointed to head the Ministry of Public Service.
During that same period, the name of the structure in charge of the Public Service changed: Secretary of State to the Public Service (1957-1959), Ministry of Public Service, Posts and Telecommunications (February – June 1959), Ministry of Public Service (1963-1965), Sub Ministry of Public Service (1965-1966), Secretary of State to the Public Service (1966-1972), Ministry of Public Service (1972-1988).
In the same light with the creation of institutions which marked the period running from 1960-1985, the anxiety to have competent human resources was concretised by the creation of a structure in charge of training administrative elite in 1959. First of all called Cameroon’s School of Administration (ECA) from 1959 to 1961, the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) was created in 1961 and this denomination was maintained until 1986 with the support of the French Cooperation. A total of 09 directors managed the institution during this period: Jacques MEUNIER; Frank LAURENCINE, Philippe SOURDILLA; from 1961 to 1986: Philippe DARGE, Jean Durand, Jean Olivier, Philippe MOUTAPA, Joseph INGWAT II and NGALLE EYOUM.
II – The Demand for Results from the Administration (1985-2000)
The period mentioned above was characterised by two major events: the economic crisis which brought about the scarcity of resources, and the arrival of the new president of the Republic in 1982.
Following the change in the political system of Cameroon, the new leaders, in an attempt to implement the New Deal, initiated the Administrative Reform. In April 1985, a Special Investigation Mission on the functioning of the Administration and the sensitisation of the administrative apparatus in conformity with the New Deal was created to obtain possible criticisms and proposals which would be capable of improving on the functioning and efficiency of the Administration from all social strata.
The outcome of this mission was the option to maintain « a more efficient, simple, competitive and responsible public administration ». Unfortunately, the economic crisis interrupted and became a handicap to the realization of this ambition. The five-year plans disappeared and were replaced by structural adjustment programmes. The living standards of the State reduced after liberating the economy and refocusing its role. An unusual wind of reforms then blew within the Administration. Special attention was paid to the administrative reform. The Organisation and Workforce Plan (POE) was created with the following objectives: an understanding of the workforce and the total wage bill, improving on the efficiency of the Public Service. The primary idea was therefore to set up rules and manage funds.
Since 1994, it was put on the rail by first of all creating a programme to strengthen capacities in the management of Cameroon’s public service. This programme was aimed at introducing the notions of public management in Cameroon’s Public Administration, contributing to the implementation of an organisation and workforce plan of the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform, and to strengthen the capacities of intervention of the Permanent Secretariat of Administrative Reform, a government organ in charge of counselling on organisation and management. This programme failed to attain its goals but however made it possible to initiate reflections on the principles of modernization of Cameroon’s Public Administration. It was replaced by a National Governance programme in 2000.
However, it was in 1995 that Cameroon decided to initiate a global programme of reforms extended to several domains of governance. The diagnostic phase marked its launching with the identification of five (05) primary domains which were stated with precision in 1998: public administration, decentralisation, justice, economic, financial and social management, participation of citizens and the society in the management of state affairs.
The formerly interventionist, productive, business oriented State was referred to a facilitator regulator, promoter, partner, referee, much more concerned with efficiency, returns, and ethics. This new dynamic approach of managing state affairs was called “Governance”.
Just like during the first period, the demands of this new context brought the need for a reflection on the quality of human resources in administration, fit to face challenges. Moreover, the government, in a bid to better coordinate its activities and capitalise on the human and financial resources of the cooperation, decided to create the National Centre of Administration and Magistracy (CENAM) which consisted of ENAM (the fruit of French Cooperation), the Institute of Administrative and Financial Techniques (ITAF, fruit of the German cooperation which was created in 1985). ENAM, which till then was considered as a branch of the Ministry, became an entity on its own and was especially in charge of the initial training of managers and administrators. ITAF was responsible for training administrative and financial techniques while the ISMP concentrated on the perfection and the recycling of managers working in the domain of management.
Therefore, from 1986 to 1992, Mr Samuel EBO’O managed CENAM, coordinating the activities of the three solicited structures. ITAF had two directors, Mr NJITESSI (1984-1989) and KAGO LELE (1989-1992) while ISMP was managed by a mixed team (a Canadian Director and a Cameroonian Deputy Director). From 1985 to 2000, five (05) directors headed the ISMP; Luc MALLOT (1985-188), Suzanne FAFIN (1988-1994), ATANGANA MEBARA (1994-1997), Léon Bertrand NGOUO (1997-2000).
In a bid to expand the role of the above mentioned structures, CENAM disappeared in 1992; ITAF missions were taken over by ENAM, and two autonomous structures were placed under the trusteeship of the Ministry in charge of Public Service. One of them, ENAM, which offered the initial training of managers and administrators, and the other, ISMP, offered the training on perfection and recycling of managers and administrators. Meanwhile, from 1988 to 1992, the name of the Ministry changed from the Ministry of Public Service to the Ministry of Public Service and the Superior Control of the State. In 1992, it became the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform. This last name was therefore presented as a key strategy for the modernization of the Administration.
III - 2000-2010: The era of the modernisation of the administration
Decentralisation: a decisive progress in the management of the country’s civil servants
Adopted during the Cabinet Meeting of April 24, 2001, the reform on the decentralisation of the management of civil servant and their salaries aimed at introducing a new approach to the management of human resources within Cameroon’s civil service, which merged its three components; the administration of civil servants, the development of human resources and the approximate management of civil servants. Its implementation in the administrative behaviour of state services underlies two principles: the employer, which is the minister in charge, is also responsible for managing their career and those who pay their salary.
This reform was marked by a horizontal decentralization through the allocation and the granting of other competent ministerial departments from the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reforms on one hand, and the Ministry of Finance on the other hand.
On April 12, 2010, the document on the policy of Decentralisation by Ministers Emmanuel BONDE of the Public Service and ESSIMI MENYE of Finance was published.
The activities undertaken within the framework of this decentralisation were organised at three levels: a reorganisation of ministerial departments following the redistribution of competencies between ministries in civil servant management; a redefinition of the procedure of the treatment of files relating to the management of civil servants based on the approach of using information technology as is done by SIGIPES; taking into account the advancement in information technology and communication to modernise the approach to the work. Till date, decentralisation has achieved many results.
SIGIPES’ main server at MINFOPRA
The reform, which was operational at four levels (MINFOPRA, MINEDUC, MINFI, and MINSANTE) was operational up till 2003 and was expanded in 2008 to 21 other institutions. On April 12, 2010, one could count 30 institutions in which SIGIPES was effectively functioning. To better illustrate its efficiency, let us take the example of MINFOPRA where 4 800 career profiles were produced in 2001, while in 2010, the number increased to 36 000 profiles.
Several seminars have been organised, till date, with the aim of enabling principal participants to implement and use SIGIPES services through the different ministerial departments, in a bid to ensure the effective use of this tool.
Secretary Generals of Ministries and authorities in charge of human resources, as well as Heads of SIGIPES Units are regularly offered refresher courses related to the chain of the management of civil servants and their salaries in their different structures.
Secretary Generals of Ministries in Seminars for the appropriation of SIGIPES
Generally, three fundamental principles are involved in decentralisation, mainly improvement of the quality of services rendered to users, the responsibility of institutions in the management of civil servants as well as improvement in the efficiency and transparency of public administration.
In the wake of decentralization, measures were taken to increase achievements by the administration and to improve the relationship with users.
The drafting of the Administrative Procedure Manual
Faced with numerous grievances from citizens/users vis-à-vis the public service, especially at the level of the opacity and complexity of procedures, the drafting of Administrative Procedure Manuals of different ministerial departments, constitutes one of the prime activities of MINFOPRA during these years. These documents are accompanied by the drafting of a user’s guide of the said institutions. They give ample information on documents, in a general manner and rules and regulations relating to the functioning of the said institutions.
In addition to these manuals on procedures, it is possible to add to MINFOPRA, for all these past years, the elaboration of projects on the code of ethics in Cameroon’s administration. Moreover, there is the elaboration and the publication of a computerized and physical collection of legal texts and the setting up of a legal precedent as far as the Public Service is concerned. It concerns legal documents whose advent comes to fill a great gap and serves as a compass for law practitioners and the community of researchers.
Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Norms in Public Administration (PINORAC)
It is a centre pillar in the search for excellence in administration as is reiterated by the Head of State. It represents the implementation of the principle to evaluate public agents according to their achievements.
This system came to replace that of the grading of public agents simply based on its punctuality, diligence and its respect for hierarchy. A methodological guide on the drafting of public expenditure norms has already been realized and sample evaluation forms have been drafted and are in the course of being validated.
Introduction of Management Geared towards Results (GAR)
Following deliberations on international support partners, the administration decided in 2000 to adopt the management strategy called, management geared towards results, through a programme entitled Modernisation Process of Cameroon’s Public Service through Management Geared towards Results (PROMAGAR).
Since 2009, all administrative bodies have focal points, and for the first year, they were aimed at strengthening capacities of this focal points and administrative authorities as well as national schools, African schools, Canadian schools and European schools with management geared towards results.
Service norms have a reality (publication authorisation within forty eight hours in the Prime Ministry) and others are experimented: authorisation of a two-week internship at MINFOPRA and the integration of newly recruited civil servants (two weeks at MINFOPRA to verify competence). Still at MINFOPRA, promotion is automatic for administrative offices with few civil servants, and will be the case for all administrative offices as from 2011.
Many other innovations are ongoing and are reflected in the wake of the modernisation of our administration. This is the case with the automation of advancement of public agents, which will enable civil servants concentrate on their work and not be required to be present to commence their advancement process. Mention can also be made of the improvement of the liquidation of rights system, an ongoing process which, in a short term, will complete the struggle started by the public service so that civil servants can start enjoying their retirement pension at the end of their career.
Finally, one can say that Cameroon’s Public Service, more than ever, is involved in a wind of reforms of all nature which have as primary objective to improve the quality of services rendered to the citizens/users. The approach geared towards results is now the key word of management, and the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform, which is calmly carrying out modernisation operation under the authority of the Head of State and the Prime Minister, is firmly determined to make these reforms become concrete realities to the benefit of public agents in particular and all users in general.
It can thus be said that, ten years after its implementation, the policy of decentralisation of the management of State personnel and their Salaries, has registered many achievements such as the significant increase in the number of treated files, a better understanding of civil servants and their salaries, the responsible nature of heads of ministerial departments who are presently managing the career of their personnel and signing several acts related to this. Today, this reform enables us to understand civil servants of public services, that is, one hundred and sixty five thousand (165 000) workers, excluding the Ministry of Defence, the management of National Security, Magistrates, Penitentiary Administration and Higher Education Staff; for a total salary of about 48 billion FCFA per month in 2009.
Moreover, it also enabled the administration to review its procedures and to orientate them toward efficiency, while placing the approach geared on results as a priority. The interest of the user is placed at the centre of the activities of the administration which, apart from being prompt, included the introduction of procedure manuals and other practical guides aimed at facilitating the orientation and information of the public.
However, the duty is immense and the demands of the people will be much more great for a population of 19, 406, 100 people, that is one public agent for 117 people. It is important to make mention of the quality of human resources called to serve them
Therefore, from Germain TASLA MEKONGO, the first secretary general of the State to the Public Service, to Emmanuel BONDE, Minister of Public Service and Administrative Reform, about fifty years have gone by during which our country has crossed many stages in the evolution of its administration and its relationship with its users. After the different periods of administrative centralisation and welfare state, the moment has finally come for the modernisation of our administration, an evolution which is mainly marked by the decentralisation of the management of civil servants and their salaries, an operation carried out with assurance and determination at the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform, in collaboration with all ministerial departments. Fruitful results are seen through the productivity of our administration and the perception of the public.