Mohammed Abbou ©Government of Morocco

A work in progress

Creating a strong public sector is essential for investment and development, but it is easier said than done. Mohammed Abbou, Morocco’s Minister for Public Sector Modernisation, shares his ideas on how to move forward.

Morocco is facing the same challenges as most other countries in the MENA region, and hopes to follow the best and most practical paths toward the integrity, transparency, openness and partnership that will promote good governance and development.

Faced with these great challenges, the Moroccan government is striving to modernise the administration as a way of ensuring effective action and good governance.

Our priority areas of action are regionalisation and reinforced local administration, improving public management, and human development, including women's role in public governance.

Regional policies and administrative deconcentration are key aspects of governance. They are essential not only for meeting the expectations of the citizenry and of the government's social and economic partners at the local level, but also for rationalising public management and improving the quality of services.

This approach makes the citizen at once the player, the driver, and the beneficiary of all initiatives and projects for reform and development.

We have given a good deal of thought to administrative organisation and to ways of decentralising powers to local government, and deconcentrating responsibilities within the state apparatus.

This policy is based on a "deconcentration charter" based on proximity of decisionmaking, that is, decisions should be taken by offi ces close to the citizens concerned, partnership among the various state services and local governments, and orienting external services at the same level for implementing the regional development policy and integrated economic and social development programmes.

The government of Morocco has taken steps to reinforce confidence and transparency in public management as part of a strategic approach aimed at ensuring quality, sharing responsibilities, and streamlining bureaucratic procedures. To meet these objectives, governance and decision-making will have to be adapted to the new issues inherent in Morocco's constantly shifting socioeconomic context.

We are making real efforts to provide prompt, simple and effective service by harmonising and standardizing bureaucratic procedures and adopting the quality yardstick in government departments and agencies. 

The government is guided in its action by the model of society proposed in the National Initiative for Human Development, which also makes it a national priority to institutionalise gender equality in government.

The Ministry for Public Sector Modernisation (MMSP) has drawn up a programme for instituting the gender approach in the public service by reducing gender disparities in human resource management and placing more women in decision-making positions. 

The working group on public service and integrity, chaired by Morocco in partnership with Spain and Turkey, has held five very constructive meetings since the Good Governance initiative was launched. These meetings offer a suitable framework for sharing experience and experiments in MENA countries. 

The group takes a practical approach to its work, comparing reform efforts in MENA countries with those in OECD countries. It also produced three case studies, one, in Morocco, on combating corruption and reinforcing transparency in public management, another, in Jordan and Bahrain, on anchoring the principles of integrity in human resource management and codes of conduct for public servants, and the third on ensuring transparency in the delivery of public services by simplifying procedures and eliminating authorizations in Tunisia.

The group also benefited from the tools offered by OECD experts for promoting integrity and transparency in public management, such as joint learning studies relating to public procurement and combating corruption in Morocco, peer review, and training for senior officers at the regional centres created in MENA countries-the Regional Centre for Policy Evaluation in Morocco, the Innovation Centre in Tunisia, and the Regulatory Update Centre in Egypt.

An Advisory Committee on Regionalisation is now being created to draw up the "Deconcentration Charter" for promoting further regionalisation in Morocco.

With regard to the gender approach, the MMSP has launched a medium-term strategic programme to mainstream gender equality throughout the public administration.  

© OECD Observer, No. 275, November 2009

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