APA: Performance agreement deliberations for the new fiscal would begin soon with the deadline to submit the annual performance agreements ending on March 8 for central agencies.

The annual performance agreements (APA) enter the implementation phase, after the completion of the pilot phase at the end of this budget year in June.

APA is one of the measures the government has taken to improve good governance.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, during a mid-term review last week, said that the main objective of this APA was to serve the public through quality service delivery.

“To ensure quality service delivery, it’s imperative to plan and identify the targets of the programmes,” he said. “Otherwise, the activities would be ad hoc and, no matter how hard we work, the results would be dissatisfying and lead to duplication of works.”

What would happen ultimately is the country not being able to meet the development goals. “So performance agreements are important for good governance,” lyonchoen said.

The APA performance success would also be used to assess the performance of civil servants.

Lyonchoen said the civil servants would be graded according to success rate of their ministries or agencies.  The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) would include the performance of their organisations as one of the criteria to evaluate the civil servants’ performance.

“If the ministry’s accomplishment rate of the targets is 90 percent, then this rate would apply to all the civil servants in the ministry,” he said.

Further. those involved directly with the activities would be graded according to the success rates of those activities, he said.

Lyonchoen said there would also be a change in budgeting of the activities. “Unlike in the past, where budget discussions for ministries and dzongkhags were held separately, this time, to find a common basis, the deliberations would be done together in line with the overall targets,” he said.

To have a coordinated budget deliberation, after the ministries prepare their agreements they have to discuss them with the dzongkhags, following which the budget preparation would follow.

The ministries and autonomous agencies have to identify the annual targets in line with the Plan targets.  The ministries, after identifying the targets, then have to discuss what the dzongkhags needed to do to achieve those targets.

“Most of the works are in the dzongkhags, thus, it’s important that their annual performance agreements match with those of the ministries starting this fiscal year,” lyonchoen said.

According to the prime minister, the opportunity Bhutan has is one, which has not been done elsewhere, in that it has performance agreements, performance budgeting, and performance evaluation of individual civil servants all linked together.

Lyonchoen said those activities identified in the APA would definitely receive funding, while for other activities the finance ministry would decide.

The prime minister said, while it may be a new system the government is trying to implement, he said it would not be a new thing for the civil servants, who have studied good governance and performance agreements.

During the previous government’s tenure, many compact agreements were signed between the government and the agencies for the accelerated development programs.

“In essence, the compact agreements for the accelerated socio-economic development program or the performance agreements are the same,” lyonchoen said.

The prime minister has completed mid-term review of 14 dzongkhags and most of the ministries.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay will chair the mid-year review of annual performance agreement 2014-15 for Paro, Haa, Punakha, Wangdue and Gasa dzongkhags tomorrow on at Hotel Olathang, Paro.

By Tshering Palden