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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King urges ‘a culture of excellence’ in public administration
Amman, 9 October 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday stressed the importance of “institutionalising the culture of excellence” in government agencies to improve public administration performance.

Chairing a meeting of the King Abdullah II Centre for Excellence (KACE) board of trustees, King Abdullah underlined that the Jordanian public administration, once singled out for its excellence, has lately witnessed an unacceptable deterioration in its performance, characterised by over-bloated bureaucracy.

These setbacks need to be amended immediately to better serve the country’s interests and future, His Majesty said.

“Our primary goal is to serve citizens, and this requires continuous improvement of the efficiency and quality of services offered to them, and all should know that public employees are there for that purpose,” the King said.

His Majesty directed the government to deal with KACE as a tool to assess and improve performance and accountability, a task which requires commitment from the government to ensure the participation of all public institutions in the centre’s programmes and awards.

The King also stressed the importance of all state agencies’ cooperation with KACE to help it achieve its goals.

His Royal Highness Prince Feisal, chairman of the KACE board of trustees, thanked His Majesty for his constant support to the centre, which helped in improving its performance.

The King presented awards to the winners of the King Abdullah II Award for Excellence in Government Performance and Transparency, the King Abdullah II Award for Distinction in the Private Sector and the King Abdullah II Award for Distinction in Business Associations.

The programme is designed to stimulate better performance within the targeted sectors in terms of quality of services they offer.

Ninety ministries and institutions from the public and private sectors competed in the award’s sixth edition covering the period 2011-2013.

Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said the country’s public administration has had better days, reiterating that hesitance and reluctance are the major reasons behind its weaknesses.

Criticism levelled at the government is dominated by accusatory tones, and this has made civil service leaders hesitant to take swift administrative decisions, he added.

Ensour stressed that all measures, laws and regulations to improve the public sector require full implementation, noting that the government’s major concern will be regaining citizens’ confidence in state agencies.

He also vowed that the government’s participation in the King Abdullah II Award for Excellence will be aimed at improving the performance of public institutions and utilising the award’s outputs as a major tool for public sector reform.

Ensour said the government was committed to implementing an “ambitious programme” to improve the public sector and the quality of services offered to citizens.

Expressing appreciation for the King’s support for the centre, KACE  Deputy Chairman Sharif Zu’bi said 34 private companies participated in the 2011/2013 award, describing participation in the award as “poor and below expectations despite the success stories of the firms that have implemented the award’s criteria in the past”.

He added that all companies that implement the award’s requirements have increased their sales and opened new markets for their exports.

Zu’bi noted that several ministries and public institutions have not improved their performance, including the ministries of municipal affairs, agriculture, health and justice, in addition to the Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Jordan Investment Board and the Agricultural Credit Corporation.
“Naming ministries and public institutions was not in any way defamatory but meant to encourage them to enhance their performance,” Zu’bi said.