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A Cabinet and A Parliament That Work

We have seen an illogical chopping and changing of portfolios following the last two elections. The last two prime ministers have created ministries to suit the competences or preferences of ministers instead of deciding on the best, most logical and synergistic combination of departments and selecting ministers who are capable of setting policy and providing overall guidance to these departments. This must stop. It militates against the efficient and effective management of government, and it creates unnecessary bureaucracy and confusion within the public service and among the people who use government services.

We believe it is necessary to decide on a sensible, practicable combination of portfolios and to place the most competent ministers to head these portfolios. We should not create portfolios to accommodate the skills or lack thereof of ministers.

With that in mind, we propose the following portfolios:

· Finance and Planning

· Education & Labour

· Agriculture, Fisheries & Cooperatives

· Social Transformation & Local Government

· Health and Human Services

· Home Affairs, National Security, Legal Affairs & Justice

· Infrastructure, Transport, Ports, Physical Development & Housing

· Business Development, Commerce & Consumer Protection

· Youth, Digital Transformation, Cultural Industries & Sports

· Natural Resource Management, Climate Resilience, Energy & Water

· Public Administration, Information & Broadcasting

· External Affairs, Multilateral Cooperation & International Trade

· Tourism and Investment Promotion

Cabinet Sub-Committees

To ensure that Cabinet works in a collaborative and efficient manner, there should be standing cabinet sub-committees. These will require ministers to meet in caucus to agree on policies and programs that cut across departments and sectors. These sub-committees will address the biggest criticism of the operations of the public service - the tendency for departments to work in silos, with little communication or collaboration between agencies.

The following standing cabinet sub-committees should be created and should be mandated to meet at least monthly:

· Sub-committee on the Economy

· Sub-committee on Social Development

· Sub-committee on National Security

· Sub-committee on Climate Response and Disaster Risk Reduction

· Sub-committee on Major Projects

· Sub-committee on Finance

To respond to the vexing, persistent problem of poor implementation of government projects, the Sub-committee on Major Projects should be created, co-chaired by Finance and Public Administration, with departments co-opted as and when necessary.

Parliamentary Committees

The important role of the Parliament as the custodian of the will of the people and the curator of the work of the executive will be observed for the first time since Independence. Standing parliamentary committees should be established to oversee the work of the executive and the public service and to ensure that the monies that have been allocated to the respective departments of government are being spent judiciously and efficiently.

However, for the parliamentary committees to work effectively, they must receive timely and appropriate information from the public service agencies, and a special unit should be created to ensure that the information needs of all parliamentary committees are met.

Parliamentary committees should meet at least bi-monthly (every two months). This will ensure that members of parliament will be engaged on a full-time basis executing their duties as parliamentarians, and the work of the member of parliament will no longer be subservient to the work of the minister.

The following parliamentary committees should be established:

· Economic Development

· Social Services & Local Government

· Constitution, Electoral & Justice Reform

· National Security

· Infrastructure, Physical Development & Transport

· Climate Response & Disaster Risk Reduction

· Finance & Expenditure


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