By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
Botswana is hosting the 3rd Public service day commemorations this year, under the theme, “Innovating Public Governance for Sustainable Development” on the 19th and 20th June 2014 in Gaborone.
On December 20, 2002, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 23 of each year as United Nations Public Service Day. It encouraged member states to organize special events on that day to highlight the contribution of public service in the development process. The Public Service Day is held on June 23 each year. Under this theme, Botswana will commemorate its achievements in terms of innovations that have served citizens of this country well.
“We have during preparations for this day seen numerous projects that have made not only this Government proud but its citizens as well,” said Carter Morupisi, the Director in the Directorate of Public Service management.
In Botswana, the objectives of the Botswana Public Service Day are to celebrate the value and virtue of service to the community. However other objectives of the day consist of showcasing the services offered by the public service to the general public; to create a platform to discuss new Public Service Reforms in the advent of the economic downturn; to avail an opportunity for Public Service Employees to share experiences, successes and challenges and get feedback from the general public; to appreciate measures put in place by Public Service, in contributing to the implementation of the National Development Plan and achievement of the Vision 2016 Pillars and to create a platform to strengthen strategic links in the Productivity Movement through networking with various stakeholders.
The day is also meant to provide formal recognition and reward for Ministries/Departments, teams, and individuals who have contributed significantly to the promotion of productivity initiatives.
Amongst the many celebrated innovations that the Botswana public service has introduced, the most notable ones include that; the department of Immigration and Citizenship at Tlokweng and Two Rivers Borders, has doubled up the use of the computers for arrival and departure purposes which has seen a drastic reduction in the queues at the border.
In addition the Ministry of Trade and Industry through the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), introduced a one stop shop service for both local and foreign investors who are investing a certain threshold (1 million Pula for local investors and 4 million Pula for foreign investors). “Through this service, setting up and registration of companies including those for work and residence permits have seen its time cut by half,” added the Morupisi.
The Central Transport Organisation recently introduced a system for Government vehicles to be serviced in private garages to help address the problem of shortage of transport due to the long queues at the Government garage.
“For the first time since we began commemorating this day, we have rolled out the celebrations to the Districts and it was quiet a success. The District Public Service Day was commemorated in Francistown recently on the 11th -13th June, 2014. The Francistown celebrations as well as the upcoming Gaborone celebrations are a result of a build-up of months of preparations by difference Councils and Ministries to recognise the talent amongst their employees as well reward good performance in service delivery.”
The Acting Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Honourable Shaw Kgathi will give the key note address for the event.
“The day 1 will also be characterised by performances from public service employees in different areas of performing arts, such as traditional dance and music, and a carnival march. Sporting activities will also be held on the day at the University of Botswana Stadium and we will have Cabinet playing against Accounting Officers in a football match as our curtain raiser for our ball sports.
The 2nd Mr. and Miss Public Service Day Beauty pageant will be held in the evening to crown the two winners of the evening. The Public Service Day commemorations have shown tremendous growth since they began in 2012. “This is demonstrated by the growing number of public service employees participants which was 1, 000 in 2012, a figure which rose to around 4,000 in 2013. In 2014, we expect participation of public service employees to top the 30, 000 mark.”
According to the event organisers, the main event on the 20th will be the award ceremony for the best performing Public Service Employees and “we will be giving these awards to over a hundred men and women who have consistently and diligently performed above average in their line of duty. The two days will also be open to members of the public to view the stalls from All government Ministries and Departments and interact with our officers on issues pertaining to their line of work,” added Morupisi.