While there has been as steady improvement in people’s satisfaction with service delivery over the years, the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) is nevertheless calling upon institutions to make greater efforts to improve their services.
RGB’s appeal is based on its annual Citizen Report Card (CRC), the 2016 edition of which revealed that the level of citizens’ satisfaction with governance and service delivery stood at 67.7%, slightly lower than the 71.1% recorded in 2015.
Introduced in 2010, the CRC is an annual perception survey conducted by RGB with the purpose of providing public institutions and policy makers with feedback from the people on services delivered at grassroots level.
In his foreword to the report, Professor Anastase Shyaka, the RGB Chief Executive Officer, noted that the CRC 2016 focused on 13 thematic sectors, instead of 14 in 2015. They are education, agriculture and livestock, local administration, health, justice, water and sanitation, social welfare, land, infrastructure, security, governance, domestic violence, and citizen participation in government policies.
Respect of governance principles and trust in governance institutions remained at the same level, scoring 89.1% last year against 89.4% in the previous one.
The report also indicated that services concerning gender-based and other forms of violence were less appreciated, as the score fell from 86.9% to 80.7% in 2016.
According to the report, the reduced appreciation of certain indicators resulted from major complaints related to expropriation processes, rampant theft in some communities, lack of water and electricity, land-related conflicts, domestic violence, and late delivery of seeds to farmers.
Other common complaints were also found in the areas of social protection programmes such as the Vision Umurenge Program (VUP) and One-Cow-per-Poor-Family, as well as in providing citizens with basic facilities, such as good roads and markets.
RGB CEO Shyaka said that institution will continue to conduct research in order to better advise the government, yet stressed that the challenge is not the lack of institutions, but rather how they deliver on their mandate.
“We are doing well but Rwandans and their government want public and private institutions to do better. and provide quality and timely services to the people,” he said.
Kigali citizens less satisfied
Geographically, the report showed that people in Kigali tend to have lower levels of service satisfaction compared to other parts of the country, mainly due to higher literacy levels.
For instance, in good governance, satisfaction was at 75.9% last year at the national level wwhile Kigali city’s districts Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro scored 68.8%, 66.7% and 68.4% respectively.
Satisfaction in citizen participation stood at 58.9% countrywide, while the best district in Kigali, Gasabo, scored only 49%.
There was also a huge discrepancy in the appreciation of services related to social welfare, which scored 61.2% at national level, while in Kigali it was a meagre 39% in Nyarugenge, and Gasabo and Kicukiro did even worse.
Infrastructure is the only sector where Kigali came first, with Kicukiro scoring the highest satisfaction rate in the country with 79%, compared to 53.1% countrywide.
Speaking at the unveiling of the CRC 2016, the then Mayor of the City of Kigali, Monique Mukaruliza, said citizens have become more conscious and vocal about service assessment, which explains the drop in satisfaction.
She said the report has showed areas that need to be addressed such as citizen participation, and promised improvement.
“Given the programmes we are putting in place such as community outreach, I hope the next assessment will show different perceptions. We are going to work more closely with citizens to bridge the identified gaps. This requires the involvement of citizens and all stakeholders,” she said.
In this respect, it was observed that the majority of people living in cities do not actively participate in government programmes, and Mukaruliza called on them to change their mindsets and become more involved.
“When people do not attend meetings, they do not participate in decision-making and this affects participation,” she said. “Citizens should change their attitude.”
Read this article and more in issue n° 73 of Hope Magazine.