Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Review Article: 2022 Vol: 25 Issue: 4S

Public administration reform and development stakes in Morocco

Cherif ELHILALI, Prince Sultan University

Abstract

 The demand for public administration reform in Morocco is an urgent matter in light of the imbalances it knows, despite the important gains it has accumulated in the field of modernization and the financial and human resources that have been monitored, as well as in light of the important principles brought forth by the country’s last constitution in 2011, which are reflected in the Especially in the principles of good governance, linking responsibility to accountability, in addition to dedicating standards of quality, transparency and fairness in all public services that it provides to citizens in order to achieve the desired development.

In order to reach this goal, it has become necessary to adopt a new development model through a real reform of public administration, which is an essential mechanism for achieving comprehensive development in various political, economic and social fields, through the promotion of good governance of public administration. Because the real problem facing public administration is not a problem of resources, programs and strategies, as much as it is a problem of governance.

Keywords

Public Administration, Development Stakes, Administrative Reform, Governance of Administrative Management, Quality Public Services.

Introduction

Morocco has known for many years many attempts to reform the public administration, the degrees and stakes of which have varied between mere simplification of procedures, and an attempt to bring about fundamental changes in the structures and functions of administrative bodies in their relationship with the users.

The administrative reform workshops in recent years have been of great importance, especially after the declaration of a real will on the part of the country's higher authorities in order to overcome the imbalances related to public administration, which contribute to hindering development in the country. In this regard, all officials at the central and local levels, and various actors in public affairs, have been called upon to participate in this major workshop.

This reform, which actually requires the concerted efforts of the official bodies of the state and various actors from political parties, unions, and associations, as well as the contribution of every Moroccan citizen, in line with the requirements of article 37 of the Constitution, which states: “All citizens must respect the Constitution and the law. They must exercise the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution in a spirit of responsibility and committed citizenship where the exercise of rights is correlated with the fulfillment of duties.”

Hence the importance of this topic, which will focus on two main points: public administration and reform requirements on the one hand, and the role of administrative reform as a lever for development on the other. But before that, it is necessary to refer to its main references and its most important stations in Morocco.

The Basic References for Administrative Reform and its Most Important Stations

Basic References for Administrative Reform

The main references for administrative reform are reflected in the Kingdom's constitution (1.1), and the government program (1.2).

The Kingdom’s Constitution of 2011

The Kingdom’s constitution, in turn, stipulates basic requirements emphasizing the vital role of administration in achieving development: In addition to Chapter Six, which stipulates the obligation for all public authorities to be subject to the law and to accountability, we find that Chapter Twelve has been devoted to governance, which surrounds the organization of public utilities with its principles that are reflected in equity and quality. Transparency, integrity, accountability and responsibility...and others.

Thus, Article 157 of the Constitution stipulates that a charter for public utilities defines the rules of good governance related to the management of public administration, territorial (local) collectivities and public bodies.

Government Program

The government program 2016-2021 emphasized a set of essential issues related to administrative reform and work to achieve development, especially in its axes related to strengthening the values of integrity, working on administrative reform, consolidating good governance, developing the economic model, promoting employment and sustainable development, promoting human development and social cohesion, and local.

The Most Important Administrative Reform Stations

The public administration has known many reform initiatives, some of which can be included, for example, but not limited to, as follows:

• Creation of a National Committee for the Reform of Public Administration in 1981, which presented a set of recommendations, the majority of which were concerned with legal texts (such as a review of the public service statute);

• The “Charter of Good Governance” in 1999 during the period of the political “rotation government”, where its most important objectives centered around: Synthesizing the public utility, rationalizing management and an effective policy approach to administrative communication with citizens;

• The first national debate on administrative reform in Morocco in 2002, through which a set of shortcomings in the performance of the public administration was monitored: excessive centralization of interests, authorities and means, weak capabilities, weak administrative services, especially in the rural world, complexity of administrative procedures, and the absence of accountability and evaluation administrative performance.

Adoption of the management modernization work program for the years (2014-2016) with the advent of the government of Abdelilah Benkirane, through the following measures:

✓ Strengthening the administration’s relationship with the citizen by restoring trust between the administration and the citizens, raising its level of performance and cost-effectiveness, improving the quality of services provided to users and facilitating access to them, improving reception, simplifying administrative procedures, and supporting electronic administration...;

✓ Consolidating governance through the creation of public service and support for transparency in public administration;

✓ Reorganizing the administration structures by adopting a strategic vision for a decentralized administration that keeps pace with advanced regionalization and preparing a charter for the public service.

Based on the foregoing, it is clear that several attempts were made to reform the public administration, but they did not lead to the desired results, and thus the question remains: Where do the imbalances of public administration lie? And what are the entrances to administrative reform in order to bypass the current situation, and thus achieve the desired development?

Public Administration and Reform Requirements

The public administration suffers from several defects, whether it is related to the state administration or the local administration, which requires searching for reform approaches in order to overcome the current situation.

Diagnose the Imbalances of Public Administration

There are many and varied imbalances in the public administration, especially the one concerned: the state administration (1.1), or the local administration (1.2).

The State Administration

The most important imbalances in the state administration are manifested in several things, including:

• Weakness in performance and in the quality of services provided to citizens;

• Inflation, inefficiency, and the absence of a sense of responsibility among many employees;

• Difficulties in the citizen's relationship with the administration, ranging from reception, through communication, to processing files and documents;

• Failure to respond to citizens' complaints and inquiries;

• failure to implement judgments, especially in the face of management;

• Non-payment of debts owed by the administration to small and medium-sized enterprises;

• Excessive use of power and influence, complexity of procedures, and long deadlines for the issuance of some administrative documents;

• The lack of optimal activation of regionalization and decentralization, the consolidation of the old situation and the continuation of previous problems...etc.

The Local Administration

The local administration is considered the administration of proximity par excellence in the eyes of the utility, but the shortcomings known by this administration negatively affect the quality of the local public service, which leaves a negative impression on the citizen. If this situation is mainly due to the weak culture of the public service within the local communities, it is also due to a set of structural imbalances that are related to the lack of proportionality between the composition of human resources and the tasks assigned to these groups, in addition to imbalances in the administrative organization.

With regard to human resources, the territorial public office is sometimes characterized by a mismatch between the numbers and competencies of employees on the one hand, and the tasks entrusted to the local authorities on the other hand, which raises the question of the extent to which the authorities are able to carry out the new tasks entrusted to them.

As for the administrative organization, the local authorities generally do not have organizational structures approved by the administrative control authorities, due to the difficulty of providing the necessary funds to cover compensation related to positions of responsibility. In this situation, the organization of the local administration fails to provide an appropriate framework for action and to motivate qualified personnel to aspire to positions of responsibility within the local administrations.

As a result of these imbalances, the local public utility remains far from achieving the requirements of quality and effectiveness, as the most important shortcomings are manifested in the weakness of the mechanisms for receiving and directing users, as well as communication with the citizen, in addition to the weakness or absence of digitization of the territorial administration, which led to the mismanagement of public facilities, and thus damage The population in a vulnerable situation, the rural population, and those who live in small towns and marginal neighborhoods in major cities, and people with special needs have difficulty accessing public facilities.

Through the foregoing, it can be said that despite the efforts made by the various administrations, by launching initiatives, procedures and strategies to improve the public service, and despite making important investments and mobilizing large resources, the impact of these initiatives on the citizen remains weak. Thus, we conclude that the real problem is not material as much as it is the problem of the absence of good governance in the measure. With the same budgets, material capabilities and the same human resources, good services can be provided to the citizens.

Entrances to Administrative Reform

Administrative reform workshops in Morocco are among the workshops that have been open for decades, either because of the slow pace of downloading it by successive governments in managing public affairs, or because of the resistance to administrative reform projects. Based on the foregoing, the entrances to administrative reform can be summarized in the following points:

• Improving the relationship between the administration, the citizen and the enterprise based on values and principles that make the administration a citizen administration: improving reception, simplifying and digitizing procedures, handling complaints and grievances....etc;

• Creating the public service in order to gain the trust of citizens by promoting the values of integrity, transparency, fairness and accountability;

• Improving the management of human resources and motivating them, since the human element is the focus of every reform process, especially the administrative one;

• Modernizing the methods of management in the public administration by relying on modern information technology in order to qualify it to become an electronic administration;

• Adoption of administrative decentralization, which constitutes a guarantee for the effective implementation of advanced regionalization, so that the situation of centralization of competencies, deciding powers, and material and human means at the level of central administrations must be overcome, for the benefit of the decentralized interests of ministerial sectors.

In this context, it is necessary to work on preparing and adopting a new conception of decentralized administration that seeks to implement the principles of the 2011 constitution, which put the region at the forefront of relations between the various local actors, making it a space for dialogue and consultation, and for preparing and tracking development programs, as well as responding to the following objectives:

✓ Clarifying the role of central administrations and limiting them to the tasks of framing, visualizing, directing, evaluating and monitoring the performance of decentralized administrations, as well as the role entrusted to them in the field of preparing legislative and regulatory texts (the principle of subsidiarity);

✓ Keeping pace with the recent regional reform and highlighting the regional level as the appropriate framework for coherence of public policies and for programming projects of the various government sectors, provided that the regional administrations undertake the task of implementing public policies and implementing programs of solidarity and social cohesion, as well as accompanying and technical assistance for the benefit of local communities;

✓ The consolidation of joint administrative tasks, harmonious or integrated, by creating regional administrations that are able to implement regional projects that require unification of work and the concerted efforts of several departments belonging to the same territorial level;

The adoption of the aforementioned administrative reform approaches, as well as the preparation and activation of a new conception of decentralized management would make it a decisive factor in achieving development.

Administrative Reform as a Lever for Development

Administrative reform has a pivotal role in achieving development in all its forms, whether economic, social or cultural. However, despite many attempts, achieving this goal remains elusive, and this is what prompted the country's authorities to stress the need to adopt a new development model.

The Comprehensive Development

Public administration is an essential mechanism for achieving comprehensive development in the fields related to economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects, through its role as a basic pillar capable of crystallizing political, economic and social decisions on the ground and framing major projects, monitoring and evaluating them.

Here, it must be recalled that the successive constitutions in the Kingdom from 1962 to 2011 all affirmed that under the supervision of the Prime Minister the executive authority works to implement the laws, and that the administration is at its disposal for this purpose.

Moreover, in order to attract investments and achieve social development, a set of political, legal and fiscal factors must be available, especially the administrative factor, which is an essential factor.

For this reason, the upgrading of the Moroccan public administration to efficiency and productivity and the strengthening of its administrative capabilities has become an imperative in order to win the stakes of development in Morocco.

In order to achieve this goal, the public administration must take a set of measures, such as simplifying and facilitating procedures in order to obtain various administrative documents and necessary remedies, provide education at the level, support small and medium-sized enterprises, provide job opportunities and develop the cultural and environmental field.

Looking at the reality of the public administration, it is clear that its contribution to achieving development remains weak, which led to the failure of the current development model, and thus the need to reconsider it and adopt a new development model.

The New Development Model

It must be emphasized at the outset that the desired development model is a collective responsibility, and therefore it should be adopted within a comprehensive reform that frames the real needs of the individual and society, defines goals and objectives, and arranges priorities.

Thus, the basic determinants that must govern the construction of any new development model in order to be able to guarantee social and spatial justice, and achieve comprehensive development can be reduced to the following elements:

First: The necessity of adopting the economic model on the rules of the actual liberal economy based on free competition and the rule of law, with the introduction of social public policies to reduce the negative nature of this economy, and thus adopt an economy capable of creating job opportunities and creating social balance by creating a broad middle class;

Second: The establishment of a new tax system that would contribute to bringing important resources to the state, capable of achieving fiscal equity, and improving the business climate by opening up to new investment sectors, while creating a public investment bank at the regional level in order to finance local businesses and keep pace with youth investments;

Third: Creating a modern economic climate that stimulates more investment and is able to give a new dynamism to the attractiveness of capital, by simplifying the administrative procedures for the enterprise and facilitating the transfer of ownership, the development of trade and the simplification of import procedures, as well as the real activation of institutional dialogue mechanisms between the public and private sectors;

Fourth: A complete download of advanced regionalization by relying on qualified, specialized human resources capable of setting development programs and sectoral strategies according to the specifics of each party.

Fifth: Completion of judicial reform in order to consolidate democracy, good governance and the rule of law, as well as optimal activation of the role of financial courts and giving them wide powers, and cutting off all forms of rent.

Sixth: Reforming the education, training and scientific research system, as education is the guarantor of creating competencies capable of research, production and development of new global professions, and this requires in particular an increase in the state budget directed to scientific research.

Seventh: Making culture also a major component of comprehensive development and a key figure in the economic and social equation of the development model.

Acknowledgement

The author of this Article would like to thank Prince Sultan University (PSU) for their support to conduct this research and publish it in a reputable Journal.

Conclusion

The public administration in Morocco has accumulated a set of important gains through many reform and modernization initiatives, but despite the efforts that have been made in this field, they do not live up to the level of ambitions and aspirations, given that many projects and programs established during the era of previous governments Which most of them are similar to each other did not find the way to activation completely, and this is mainly due to the absence of commitment to all or most of the entrances to reform, as the administration is often preoccupied with the constraints of daily management, in the absence of a vision or a clear strategy to address its existing situation, with the failure to activate the measure Participation, in addition to the lack of administrative competencies capable of downloading programs and plans to improve the performance of public administration.

Thus, the real problem that public administration defines is the problem of governance, not the problem of resources. Thus, the achievement of development depends on the existence of an effective, modern and civic public administration that provides quality services to citizens and enshrines the principles of governance in administrative management In order to achieve the desired development.

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