Performance assessment basically consists of a review of the level of attainment of specific pre set goals by an individual or organization.
In order for it to be meaningful and add value to the assessed, it is important that performance assessment should be fair and objective. It is for this reason that any attempts by myself to try and evaluate the performance of the ruling PF in the past 4 years would not be fair and objective for the simple reason that in the past few weeks, l have formed an opinion that the PF has failed this country. Given this inherent bias that l have which renders me incompetent to be fair and objective, l figured that the best way in which we can evaluate the performance of the ruling PF in the past 4 years is for me to outline the areas in which l feel they have failed and those out there who feel that PF has succeeded can outline the areas in which they feel it has succeeded.
A combination of the two views of PF’s successes and failures will provide a fair and objective evaluation of its overall performance, l hope. On my part, l have 3 main areas in which l feel the ruling PF has failed this country:
Infrastructure Development, Borrowing and Foreign Reserves: According to my calculations, in the 4 years that the PF has been in power, it has borrowed and received grants of about $6billion from both the foreign and domestic markets and in addition to this, it has depleted about $2billion out of the foreign reserves that we had in the central bank. Of course they were also surpluses from internally generated revenue after recurrent expenditure, but l don’t want to talk about that as it would make issues too crowded. So basically, PF had about $8billion to spend on infrastructure. After commissioning several projects across the country, when l look at those that have finally been completed, they are worth just about $3billion according to my calculations. So what happened to the other $5billion, you might ask. Before you jump to any conclusions, l can safely assure you that a good portion of that $5billion was washed away by the rains! How do you get $5billion washed away by the rains, you might ask. Well, the PF had a perfect formula of doing it. Simply commission 1,000 infrastructure projects at once for which you only have a budget for 50, pay all of them mobilization fee and when they’re on site and have procured materials, fail to remit any further payments. The contractors will demobilize and leave the site, and the materials will get washed away with rains.
The Govt would as per contract, reimburse the contractor for the demobilization and wasted materials. Repeat this process every year for 4 years and that’s how the PF managed to get about $5billion washed away by rains. So next time the PF wants to boast about “massive” infrastructure development, someone needs to remind them that with such levels of wastage, anyone with half a brain could have done it better.
- Policy Framework: In a liberalized economy like ours, the main role of Govt is to formulate policy within which the private sector can operate and possibly thrive. These policies can be tax policy, labour policy etc. There is no such thing as a perfectly good policy or a perfectly bad policy as all policies have their own pros and cons. However, the one thing that the private sector desires, wishes for, prays for is policy stability. The country’s policy framework needs to be stable so as to enable private sector players to plan and execute long term plans. This means that as Govt, your policy position needs to be well researched and documented and that is why many countries in the region spend millions of dollars each year on consultancy services. They want to make sure they fully understand the situation at hand and that their policy intervention is well thought out. As Govt, if you’re not sure then don’t do it. This is one area in which the PF Govt has failed miserably and l would give them 0/10. They introduce some funny Statutory Instruments 36 and 55 (or whatever they were) one minute, which totally rattles the financial markets and then reverse everything the next moment and they think the damage has also been reversed! They introduce some over ambitious mineral royalties for the mines at 20% and 8% of turnover for open pit and underground mines, and then immediately reverse it and they think the damage to investor confidence will also be reversed! How clueless can a Govt possibly be about basic economic concepts? On this score, l believe the PF Govt has not only failed to establish a consistent policy framework necessary for the private sector to thrive, but it has also destroyed whatever stable policy framework the MMD left behind. 3. Politics of Patronage: The PF Govt appears to put patronage ahead of competence. Therefore, the majority of those appointed to cabinet as well as other senior Govt positions, foreign service and parastatal heads are appointed not on merit, but on the basis of patronage. With its strong inclination to be composed of incapable people, the greatest tragedy is not that the PF Govt has failed this country, rather, it is that it will continue failing this country for as long as it is allowed to do so.
Having outlined the 3 main areas of failure for the PF Govt, l believe it has also scored some major successes. The only thing is that l don’t know of any myself, but am sure they’re some people out there who might know PFs successes.
Please kindly list them below: