We are wont to saying we are good planners but bad implementers.
Self-deprecation is good but we can ill afford to not try to do better.
It now appears that we are not even good planners. This is according to a Royal Audit Authority report.
The Gross National Happiness Commission identified the 16 national key result areas and 61 key performance indicators of the 11th Plan without a proper study.
The report found that many national plans lacked documents to validate that a proper study was conducted to analyse current situations, key challenges, main strategies, and key programmes.
The key result areas at the national, sectoral and dzongkhag levels, according to the report, were formulated based on the four pillars of Gross National Happiness at the heart of which lied good governance.
Without good governance, there can never be effective and efficient service delivery. And, so, we are still struggling with basic development issues such as lack of resources, faulty designs and cost escalations.
Many projects today, especially in the rural areas, stand testimony to this fact. Irrigation projects do not bring water to farmers. Roads are either left raw or built in such a way that is eating into the annual national budget unnecessarily.
Our planners, mostly in the civil service, must take the blame. But that will not be enough. The nation’s investment in civil service is huge. And we recognise them with medals and awards of kinds and kinds every year to encourage them to strive harder.
The truth though is that if you went to a government office today, you are most likely to not find the officials you are looking for a good part of the day. The worse is nobody knows where he or she is.
Service delivery failure begins from the absence of one man in an office somewhere.
But who is looking at this issue seriously? We have laws and mechanisms in place but they are being rendered largely toothless.
Some of the biggest challenges facing the country today are small and simple that can be solved with minimal resource involvement. Youth unemployment, for example. Why must we look abroad when we are running short of farmhands in the country?
It is hard to accept that our cities and towns must run dry even as we are a water-rich nation.
Flagship programmes are coming in many areas, thankfully. But the need of the hour is looking into the plans and their feasibility.
We can do without grandiosity and the strands in our culture that make it grow. Simply put, there is an urgent need to be realistic.
Fixing accountability has been our biggest weakness. And it is costing the nation dear.