A Keynote Speaker Session was conducted by the Ministry of Public Service through the Institute of Public Administration and Management Division (IPAM), on the, 31st October, 2022. The two Keynote Speakers were; Dr Jerry Siota, Senior Lecturer of Management, Public Administration & Entrepreneurship, and Dr Elliot Mugamu, Associate Professor of Management, both from the Solomon Islands National University.
In welcoming 22 Deputy Secretaries from different Government Ministries and agencies, together with the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Public Service (MPS), Nego Sisiolo, the Director of IPAM, Solomon Manea, underscored the relevance and appropriateness of the two topics in meeting the needs and operational activities of Solomon Islands Government that were presented by Dr Jerry Siota and Dr Elliot Mugamu both from the Solomon Islands National University (SINU). Solomon was pleased with the success of the Keynote Speaker Session that took place in 2022 and he advised that 2023 would have a strong line-up of interesting topics. The presentations were followed by rigorous interactive discussions between the two academics and participants.
Dr Jerry kindly shared some of the findings of his doctoral research which focused on public service reforms in Solomon Islands. His definition of public service delivery covered electricity, roads, health centers, schools and improving living standards in general. The presentation used the Dr Elliot Mugamu (front row, 3rd from right, Dr Jerry Siota (middle row 2nd from left), PS Nego Sisiolo (middle row 4th from left) and Deputy Secretaries and IPAM officers after the Keynote Speaker Session) New Public Management philosophy to analyze and scrutinize public service reforms and public service delivery in the country. When asked whether in his view the reforms had helped to improve public service delivery in Solomon Islands, Dr Jerry remarked that the Public Service Environment is still unconducive to host or institutionalize most of the reforms.
Dr Elliot’s presentation titled ‘A perspective on board evaluation in the SOE Sector in Solomon Islands’ shed light on the importance of strengthening corporate governance structures within SOE institutions. Board evaluation was such an activity that warranted immediate implementation by those SOEs boards that have not yet embraced the concept. The argument by some of the board members and their respective management teams that SOE Act 2007 is silent on-board evaluation is not a sustainable proposition in today’s complex environment. Dr Elliot, who hails from Zimbabwe, argued that there is evidence-based literature that shows strong and direct correlation between the performances of the board and the SOE entity. He pointed out that there are many benefits to be derived from regular board evaluation of SOEs in Solomon Islands including the fact that the process identifies opportunities for improvement, education and director development programs aimed at improving competency levels of board members-a powerful argument in itself for carrying out board evaluation.
In the plenary sessions that followed the two presentations, the PS and Deputy Secretaries raised a lot of pertinent issues that underscored the need for regular forums or Keynote Speaker Sessions to be organized for the purposes of creating opportunities for critical thinking and bringing officials together to share strategies and opinions on matters that would help improve service delivery in the public sector.
In closing, Steven Amasia the facilitator, from Leadership and Management Development unit in IPAM, reiterated that in 2023 the Keynote Speaker Sessions will be organized periodically by the MPS through the IPAM Division.
Before the closing prayer, Dr Elliot took the opportunity to share exciting and game-changing developments and uniqueness of the MBA program at SINU which will be launched in January 2023.
Dr Jerry Siota is the Senior Lecturer of Management, Public Administration and Entrepreneurship in the School of Business and Management (SBM).
Dr Elliot Mugamu is the Associate Professor of Management, Public Administration and Entrepreneurship in the School of Business and Management (SBM).