Our government agencies and civil servants have a lot to work on.
Apart from the fact that the authorities have many development activities to their credit and made service delivery easier and more accessible through modern, online facilities like the G2C, many glitches still exist in customer service delivery.
If you have to shuttle to and fro from one office to another for a couple of times just to get a simple business license approved because the agencies in charge have their mandates all mixed up, it shows inefficiency in the system.
The agencies should work in synergy and synchronicity so that service delivery is smooth and fast. But this does not seem to be the situation. When confusion reigns supreme among the agencies, it will hamper not only customer satisfaction but also create a bad impression about the agencies themselves.
One might say that the system is at fault, not the people. But who creates the system? And is there such a thing as accountability and taking responsibility?
Also, though most services are now available online, if we think in broader terms, how do people in the rural areas benefit? How do people who do not know how to read and count or use gadgets as simple as mobile phones benefit from technology-based facilities?
It therefore makes sense to make online services not only available but also facilitate their use through appointing buffers who can help villagers and others who have little knowledge of the system.
Devolution of power should start at the grassroots. And knowledge is power. Barring a few really helpful and approachable civil servants who do not seem to think they are doing people a favor for simply carrying out their duties, if government employees are tightlipped and reluctant to help people by disseminating information or directing them (and yes, a little politeness would not hurt), it will be to the loss and detriment of both the public and the authorities.
The public loses because they cannot get their work done and the agencies lose out because they will have failed to carry out their mandate of serving people. That is the very reason they are called civil servants. But then, you might as well label them “uncivil.”
However, everything is not lost. The civil service does comprise a section of dynamic and dutiful employees who work hard therefore just because a few fail to perform, the whole body should not be deemed incompetent and corrupt.
It can only be hoped that government agencies and their employees do not slacken and turn complacent due to heightened job security, status and perks in the civil service.
This would translate into a waste of talent and a whole lot of resources. And as the saying goes: “the higher on the hierarchy, the greater the fall.”