Imihigo/Performance Contract: A Results of Decentralization and Effective Tool for Orgnizational Performance, Case Study of Rwanda
This study intends to cover the relationship between decentralization introduced since 2000 and Imihigo/performance contract launched in 2006 in all government institutions from the context of Rwanda. The Decentralization Policy is explicit on the process of Imihigo planning, which follows through the existing Local Government structures from Village to District level. The spirit of the policy visualizes a systematic bottom-up process where Imihigo at each Sub-District entity are strengthened at the next layer in the administrative hierarchy up to the District level. Alternatively, the system of Imihigo and decentralization in Rwanda have close interlink and this one enhanced Rwanda’s decentralization, ensuring that local leaders are accountable and that achieve annual targets they set themselves. It is an important mechanism for implementing national and local development strategies in order to improve the lives of citizens. Rwanda’s Decentralization reforms have focused on transferring power, resources and responsibilities for decision-making to citizens and elected leaders, creating enabling environment for citizens’ participation in governance and development, as well as establishing systems and structures for effective, efficient, equitable and accountable service delivery. Imihigo/performance contract concerns to all Government institutions, from households at right from isibo/village level to Ministries and agencies, are required to design and prepare their Imihigo (performance contracts), implement them effectively and to have them evaluated. Mostly, Ministers, Mayors and government agencies leaders develop Imihigo/performance contract in consultation with their staffs and therefore, sign it with the staffs concerned. District performance contract/Imihigo are resulting from consultative meetings from households where citizens, council at al level, JADF members are expressing their needs/priorities and analyze them where District consolidate the needs compare to the available budget but also link them to national priorities under strategic documents such as Vision 2050, NST 1 and District Development Strategy as well as Action Plan. To address this objective, imihigo/performance contract is perceived as the core independent variable while decentralization policy is considered as dependent variable. A questionnaire was developed and disseminated to sampled respondents used purposive sampling dealing directly or indirectly with the selected subject. Again, this purposive sampling technique was used to select the respondents and participants in focused group discussions basing on the knowledge, expertise and familiarity they have in imihigo from expression of needs to evaluation of District. The primary data is composed of information got from questionnaires respondents and interview held with selected respondents among them those who retired from District leadership at various level but also those who still in the government office. The secondary data of this research was extracted from textbooks on performance contracts or management, concept notes on performance contracts-imihigo, evaluation reports and published papers, article and books. A sample of 78 out of 80 respondents were finalized with no missing values. Empirical findings suggest that for the institutions with focus on local government or decentralized entities performance depends mainly with diverse factors includes but not limited to financial constraints, ineffective coordination and collaboration between institutions both public and private including JADF and other supporting organs. While decentralization and performance contract/imihigo are well aligned and interlinked but seems there is a disconnect which affect expected outcomes therefore, government programs and actions are not effectively implemented to the extent some of the social, economic development of citizens might be humped by the aforementioned challenges. Findings of the study are vastly recommended for the active participation of both citizens but also staff (in charge, professional, expert and director/DG) responsible for umuhigo/ performance contract for them to ensure they understand effectively the nature of umuhigo, partner’s, design both implementation plan, concept note and reporting as well as the availability of all supporting documents for the smooth organizational performance and effective implementation of imihigo/performance contract. However, more have been achieved in social, economic development pillars due to performance contract and details will be discussed at later stage. However, future studies can be conducted with more explanatory factors for persisting low citizen participation and yet, decentralization policy objective aims at empower citizens, engage them to actively participate in the local government affairs, consider them at center of governance, hold accountable leaders. Managerial implication of the study defines that different government institutions, should reconsider the stated factors for tangible outcome or results from effective implementation of performance contract/imihigo through being closer to citizen’s, engaging them actively to the local government affairs as decentralization policy expected it. Furthermore, there is a need to analyze deeper how decentralization influences performance contract since its adoption and also the tangible facts and great achievements in pillar of social, economic and development.
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