APAs: Learning accountability

What started as mid-term review by the first democratically elected government has given way to the annual performance agreement (APA), which was initiated by the previous government. Currently, the government has been signing almost one APA after another, including most recently with the Thromde and the information and communications ministry.

The APA has a cascading effect, that is what is binding at the top most levels eventually has to be shown as results at the lower levels. We don’t know for sure how effective these APAs really are; an overall impact analysis has never been done.

However, the fact that APAs are being signed points to a consensus among the authorities to at least come to an agreement on what needs to be done in certain areas and compliance to meeting those needs. It shows that people at the echelons are concerned.

The only problem that accompanies APAs is that there is no method to track the actual implementation of the plans. Once a plan of action has been created and sectors and individuals identified to carry it through, a sense of responsibility and accountability must come into picture.

Otherwise, no matter whether you sign scores of APAs or a few, you will fail to carry it through to the end. One needs checks and balances like incentives for plans accomplished and penalties or explanations for plans not accomplished.

At the end, everyone involved in the plans and details of an APA must be held accountable for the plan of action gone right or wrong.

With great power comes greater responsibilities, they say. The current government has been less than a year into power. They have promised a lot and their gamut of promises seem to be never ending. Unless we find methods to keep track of their promises, we will never know how much they are actually delivering.

From campaign pledges to party manifesto to APAs, the key word is accountability. Promises undelivered point to failure of the government to be truthful, result-orientated and promise-driven.

The new government is just that-“new” and it will have to learn through trials and mistakes. We only hope that it will not make blunders at the cost of the people and the country. Sometimes, the new must learn from the old. Regarding performance and promises, the present government must look back, check data and see what went wrong or right in the past, how they can overcome challenges and how can they can forge a way ahead and apart.