Building a new state is the motto of almost all existing political parties. However, using old methods is clearly the wrong way to go. Similarly, one should not rely solely on the experience of other countries that have survived similar transformations. We should be brave enough to gain our own experience through trial and error by implementing our own innovative and sometimes revolutionary ideas. And adopt the motto of staying ahead rather than catching up with other countries. How should the new government go about this and why cannot it afford to stop the reform of public administration?
We now live in a country with a post-colonial system of government that inherited the Soviet-type government. Back then, 28 years ago, Moscow was the only center of strategic planning and policy-making in the Union; and the republics only had to put them in practice. Republican ministries had the function of "state holdings" for managing sectors of the national economy — state-owned enterprises in one or another sector.
There was a safeguard against failure to comply with directives from above. For example, there was no single industry ministry; instead, there were many others — light, heavy, "medium," chemical, forestry, food, and processing industries. In this mosaic, a foundation was laid for a natural conflict of "the war of all against all," where administrators could not perceive the holistic goal of developing a single industrial policy in the country. This system condemned them to bitterly fight each other to maintain a balance between different industrial policies and to achieve the plan.
After the collapse of the USSR, a novelty appeared in Ukraine in addition to the Soviet model of leadership — the creation of agencies "for respectable people." This bred an extensive system of additional and "super-important" state committees and other institutions.
So, we ended up in a country that can be likened to a house in a Soviet dacha cooperative with a bunch of misplaced, inconvenient, and intricate extensions that need repair because something constantly breaks down, leaks, and grows moldy. We have a patchwork system of public administration where functions, powers, accountability of numerous agencies are not clearly allocated, often intersect, and duplicate each other. So, "Ukrainians grumble, and the government is shrugging its shoulders" is a joke with more truth to it than it seems.
Leviathan of public administration: how is the reform of public administration fighting it?
During this transitional political period, it is important to learn your lessons, stand up for achievements, and continue to improve on them.
State of affairs: what else is worth working on?
Despite many years of effort, public administration still has problem areas. For example:
- the public administration system is only moving towards a modern one, but has not yet become one and does not meet public needs;
- it is overloaded with redundant and duplicating functions;
- it still operates in the "fire fighting" emergency mode instead of proactive strategic management;
- policy areas are organized irrationally as is the system of government bodies responsible for them;
- it ineffectively redistributes about 50% of the income of the active workforce, or 30% of GDP — $37.4 billion a year (source: the State Statistics Bureau of Ukraine) to national expenditure;
- it is a non-competitive employer in the labor market with an average monthly salary of $450 (source: the State Statistics Bureau of Ukraine);
- Ukraine demonstrates one of the world's lowest levels of trust in government, which does not enjoy the trust of about 90% people;
- annual losses from inefficient administration are estimated at $14 billion and about 325,000 able-bodied people "vote with their feet" by emigrating from Ukraine.
This naturally raises the question: are you prepared to give away 50% of your earnings for management to a low-paid person you mistrust by 90%? Of course, not!
Thus, good governance is perhaps the most important factor of success of the state. For example, according to the World Economic Forum (Davos) and the World Bank, the higher a country is ranked in terms of the quality of government institutions, the higher its per capita income.