The Trends of New Public Management in Developing Countries

The NPM has the following central doctrines:
- A focus on management, not policy, and on performance appraisal and efficiency.
- The disaggression of public bureaucracies into agencies which deal with each other on a user pay basis.
- The use of quasi-markets and contracting out to foster competition;
- Cost-cutting; and
- A style of management which emphasizes amongst other things, output targets, limited terms contracts, monetary incentives and freedom to manage.
There is no doubt that many developing countries are experimenting with new public management reforms. The experiments in Malaysia with total quality management and the result oriented management initiative in Uganda are the key examples of NPM application. The wholesale restricting of Chilean education along internal market lines, a far more radical change than anything tried in the UK. Two of the most commonly adopted elements of the NPM agenda are privatization and downsizing. These are the most important part of the economic structural adjustment program. These are the common appearance of developing countries.
There are also many other experiments of developing countries in terms of NPM. The most common initiative apart from privatization and retrenchment-indeed, perhaps the most common, given the patchy implementation of those other two elements is that corporatization In developing countries, corporatization appears to be going on at an increasingly rapid pace, even as an earlier generation of state owned enterprises is being put on the auctioneer's block. For example, one particularly noteworthy African trends the merger of customs and income tax departments into corporatized national authorities. Corporation has allowed these bodies to raise wages, shed poor performer while hiring better qualified staff, offer bonuses in return for meeting revenue targets, and operate on a self-financing basis. This is an African variant of NPM, which has been adopted in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Ruanda, and it is also being exported elsewhere notably to Pakistan. A few African countries, especially in Ghana but also including Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe are also in the process of corporatization of their health sector.
Corporation can take place as a means to achieve greater efficiency, cost saving or serving quality improvements, in which case it is accompanied by the setting of performance targets along the lines of executive agencies or state owned enterprises, but it can also take place simply for convenience, a way of feeling a particular public function from the constraints of civil service red tape. The first is a clear example of the new public management in action; the second, much less so. There is no data to indicate with any certainty which of these two varieties of corporation is predominant. There is no doubt, however, that the second variety is very important in its own right in many developing countries. All kinds of bodies are being converted from civil service departments to authorities, institute, corporations, companies and other kinds of free-standing public bodies, even in countries, which have no systematic program of corporation.
There are two reasons behind the trend. These are given as follows;
I. Most developing countries have been corporatizing government functions for decades; there is little new about this, save that the trend may have accelerated in recent years; and
II. The management constraints, which newly corporatized bodies are being set up to escape.
In fact, it is most important to strengthen management reform strategies in the health and state enterprise sector in developing countries to implement the NPM as a strong management area. The autonomy of public organizations in developing countries will also play a significant role to ensure good performance in public administration. The corruption and poor administrative capacity obviously leads to a negative impact in the performance of government in these countries.

By Dewan Muhammad Yeahyea Khan


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