114. Reform of public administration in the Republic is one of the most important elements of economic reform. In recent years, direct measures have been taken to fundamentally reorganize and improve all levels of government. The major directions of the measures taken have been to bring the structure, forms and contents of work in the public sector into compliance with new political, economic and social relationships required for building an independent democratic lawful state with an open economy. Reforming the system of public administration has been conducted in accordance with the Decrees of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic On Reorganization of Central Public Administration Bodies and On Measures on Further Improvement of State Administration Structures of the Kyrgyz Republic.
In order to increase the effectiveness of public administration by eliminating overlapping and duplicated activities, reallocation of certain functions and authorities, 11 public administration bodies, including ministries, state committees, agencies and commissions, have been abolished, representing 30 percent of their total number. The maximum number of deputy managers of central and regional bodies has been determined. As a result, the number of deputy heads of public administrative bodies has been reduced by 41 percent, deputy heads of oblast state administrations by 56 percent, those of rayon state administrations by 7 percent. The minimum number of administrative structures (departments, units, sectors of oblast, rayon and city territorial structures) has been established. This has enabled their amalgamation, decrease overlapping and duplication of activities, and reduced the number of middle level managers. As a result, 70 departments and 157 units have been reduced. In the Ministry of Finance alone, 37 units been abolished that contained 3 or 4 employees in each. Last year, the total number of employees of state administration bodies was reduced by 1,754 persons, or by 6.4 percent (of which, by 8.3 percent in the Ministry of Health, by 13.5 percent in the Ministry of Education and Culture and by 15.0 percent in the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection). The number of staff has been also reduced in other state administrative bodies. As a result of the measure undertaken, approximately 30 million soms were saved in budget expenditures.
115. With the support of international organizations, a functional review of central government instrumentalities is being carried out in order to conduct an effective and justified reform of public administration bodies. The DFID have provided financial assistance to carry out functional and organizational reviews to implement the established objectives. The EU, IMF, World Bank, UNDP, TACIS and other donors also provide their assistance. Experts’ advisory groups with participation of national and international consultants have been established. Working groups have conducted analyses of regulatory and legal documents on activities of ministries and departments (laws, regulations), carried out qualification of functions, worked on identification of excessive and unnecessary structures, identified possible elimination of overlapping and duplication in activities of central state administration bodies, and the potential for the reduction of their staff number. This work is being continued. Functional reviews of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Processing Industry (with the support of the EU TACIS Program), Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Health (with the support of the UNDP) were completed at the end of 2001. At present, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection is carrying out a functional review with the support of the EU Food Security Program. A decision has been taken on reorganization of the Ministry of Finance that should improve the quality of work on collection of taxes and other mandatory payments. The preparation of proposals, with consultations with the IMF, is being completed on capacity building of subdivisions of the Ministry of Finance, dealing with development of budgetary and customs policy measures, as well as the Treasury.
116. An important component remaining in the reform of public administrative bodies is improvement of their regulatory and licensing functions. These functions should be as transparent as possible, taking full account of the interests of the individual, society and the State. Notwithstanding all efforts and measures taken on streamlining regulatory documents, in some cases regulatory, licensing and controlling functions remain excessive, contradictory, and difficult to control. This has the effect of preserving bureaucracy, corruption and embezzlement in public administrative bodies, undermining the confidence of the population in the reforms being conducted. Studies, reports and public opinion polls prepared by national and international organizations, in particular, UNDP, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, reflect the respondents’ opinion about a high level of corruption, bureaucracy and bribe taking in establishments carrying out controlling and regulatory functions.
The following actions shall be taken to correct this situation:
· Measures of a legal nature aimed at a maximum reduction of licensing and regulatory functions that impede the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial activities. Regulatory and legal acts should not be contradictory and should be simple to understand and administer.
· Measures aimed at improvement of transparency of actions of all government bodies and establishment of a system and mechanisms of accountability to civil society.
117. To rationalize existing staff potential and financial resources, a new mechanism of interrelations between the Ministry of Finance and other ministries has been developed with the support of the UNDP. A Resource Agreement has been concluded between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education and Culture. According to this document, the rights of the Ministry of Education and Culture have been extended in relation to reorganization of its own structure, use of budgetary resources, establishment of supplemental payments to the salaries of its employees within the framework of the established labor compensation fund. At the same time, the responsibility of the line ministry for direct use of budgetary resources to implement major priorities established by the reforms, has been increased. The pilot project is estimated to last for two years. Positive experience accumulated during its implementation will be disseminated to other ministries and departments.
118. Certain work is being conducted to ensure transparency and openness of decisions made and development and implementation of measures of social and economic policy. Use of information technologies for management is being broadened, with a gradual transfer of activities to the principles of “electronic government”. There are more than five thousand computers used within the system of public administration, of which about one thousand are connected to the Government Computer Network. Several centers of public access to this network have been established in the regions. In total, there are about 100 thousand users of the Internet in Kyrgyzstan.
Establishment of interdepartmental experts groups and commissions with participation of representatives of non-governmental organizations is being widely used for development of national, regional and sectoral programs, as well as of draft laws connected with reforms. Similar work is being conducted within the framework of various advisory and steering councils established under the President, Prime Minister, Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, other central public administration bodies, where representatives of all branches of government and civil society participate. Regular meetings are held between the heads of the Government and other central bodies with representatives of the public and non-governmental organizations, where information is exchanged and specific issues are discussed on stabilization and development. All measures undertaken by public administrative bodies are widely covered in the mass media.
119. At the same time, the Government has failed to resolve completely issues related to implementation of the public administration reform. Not all of the undertaken measures have been conducted in an organized manner and they have not always been effective. In a number of ministries, the reduction in the number of staff has been only nominal. Executive discipline of central public administrative bodies is not yet strong enough, so that decisions are delayed with the resulting loss of acuteness of the problems being dealt with and a diminution of the authorities’ prestige.
120. There are still unresolved issues in relation to the public administrative bodies:
· Work by public administrative bodies on analysis and forecasting of the situation in the social sector, development of the economy and its sectors, as well as regions, is of a low quality.
· A comprehensive program-based approach is weakly applied when conducting sectoral and regional reforms, and when developing and implementing defensive measures for the prevention of crises connected with possible fluctuations in international market conditions, or in response to strictly protectionist measures taken by adjacent countries.
· Personnel potential of public administrative bodies remains low, which significantly reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of work of ministries and departments as well as of local government administrations.
· The discipline exercised by executive authorities is not adequate, so that many decisions taken are not properly implemented, and the quality of their implementation is low.
· Public administrative bodies have failed to restructure the principles on which they work in line with the new political and economic situation. They have not become equal partners with non-government organizations.
· Interference of executive bodies in the economy is not always lawful and decreases the level of business activities of entrepreneurs.
· A flexible, compact management system has not yet been established. Expenses for administration, including for the maintenance of public administrative bodies, remain significantly high.
· The level of salaries of civil servants is insufficient to stimulate the staff of public administrative bodies to carry out their work effectively. The issue of state guarantees has not been resolved completely.
· The level of transparency and accountability remains low. Not all decisions of public administrative bodies are informed to the community. Executive authorities do not always report on their activities to the community and many of the reports are formal in nature. The coverage of work of executive authorities in the mass media is of a low quality. This does not engender confidence of the population in the authorities.
121. A major objective of reforming public administrative bodies is a significant increase in the quality and effectiveness of their work. This is to be achieved on the basis of new technologies and methods of public administration, ensuring preventative political measures and attainment of the established objectives on poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth and social development, strengthening of transparency and accountability of central and local bodies to the society, and strengthening the confidence of the community in the executive authorities.
The priorities in this area are to be the following:
· Clarification of the role, functions and obligations of executive authorities at all levels and interrelations among them.
· Continuation of work on optimization of the system and structure of the central, oblast and local authorities, establishing the criteria of responsibility for the results and ensuring effective management, compliance with the requirements on democratization, openness and accountability.
· Reallocation of functions of state regulation among executive levels and bodies with a simultaneous transfer of a part of regulatory functions to the private sector.
· Ensuring continuous analysis and forecasting of the situation in the social sector, development of economy and its branches, as well as regions, on the basis of a comprehensive program approach to implementation of sectoral and regional reforms, on development, adoption and implementation of preventive measures to prevent crises.
· Direct fighting against corruption and bureaucracy at all levels.
· Capacity building of the staff, creation of an effective system of labor payment and stimulation.
122. Public administration reforms shall provide for the establishment of effective mechanisms:
· Timely preparation and effective implementation of policy measures aimed at ensuring sustainable human and economic development, poverty reduction.
· Prevention, identification and elimination of the circumstances leading to corruption and embezzlements in the civil service.
· Accountability and openness of the civil service to civil society, including the use of modern technologies in activities of state bodies and the civil service.
· De-bureaucratization of relations among government bodies, civil servants and citizens, structures of the civil society.