Politics of Saturday, 24 January 2015
The 10 Regional Ministers and Regional Coordinating Directors on Friday signed a service performance contract as part of measures to achieve development targets at the local level.
The performance, which would be accessed by six thematic areas is the basis of achieving Ghana’s developmental goals and improving livelihood at the local level.
The thematic areas include the Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) priority areas, Performance reporting, Financial management, Human Resource management, Customer service initiatives and Work environmental improvement initiatives.
They would in turn sign similar contracts with the heads of the 17 decentralised departments at the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
The targets are an initiative of the Local Government Service and Public Service Commission.
Dr Callistus Mahama, Head of Local Government Service said there is the need for public service officials to be given a performance target.
He explained that the setting of performance targets would ensure that metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives and head of institutions discharged their duties effectively and efficiently.
Dr Mahama said the contract starts from January 1 to December 31, 2015 and the performance would be accessed and reviewed quarterly to reward performing ministers and sanction non-performing ones.
He said regional ministers and coordinating directors who fall short of the benchmark would be sanctioned.
He said the relevance of the concept is to monitor, evaluate and assess the performance of ministers to ensure prudent utilisation of resources.
Mrs Bridget Katsriku, Executive Director of Public Service Commission (PSC) said in the past similar practice did not yield benefits because of bad leadership.
She said for the concept to be fruitful there should be effective cooperation between ministers and coordinating directors, while citizens should be empowered to hold public officers responsible.
Mrs Katsriku said the increasing concerns about ghost names in the government payroll system is alarming and the PSC is beginning an independent audit exercise to clean the payroll.
She said: “To begin in February this year, the service seeks to ensure procedural contractual agreement to prevent compromising the system by public officials.”
Mrs Katsriku said exercise would be implemented on the Ghana Integrated Financial Management System , an information technology system that put together financial statement of government revenue, budget and payroll system and human resource management.
Mr Julius Debrah, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development urged mutual respect between stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of the contract.
He said customer satisfaction is essential in enhancing citizens’ participation in the governance process.
Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Ministers on behalf of the Ministers said the signing marks a milestone on the road to improving performance in the Local Government System “as we make a new paradigm shift from the old ways of doing things”.
He noted that since the passage of Act 462 of 1993, which guides the operationalisation of the Local Government System, a lot has been achieved by bringing governance to the door steps of the people.
He said the system is still faced with some challenges such as resource constraints, low capacities of some staff, and poor staff attitude towards work among others.
Alhaji Sulemana, who is also the Dean of the Regional Ministers and Member of Parliament for Sissala West said the core mandate of the RCCs is monitoring, co-ordinating and evaluating the work of the MMDAs and other agencies and the regional ministers are to supervise and ensure that these roles are carried out to the latter.
He expressed the hope that the performance agreement would guide management to set targets and produce results within given time frames.
“The system will create accountability to the… public through results based approach and the document has set the benchmark for all actors in the system to follow. It is the commitment of this government to whip up enthusiasm and effectively make meaning to Local Governance in the country”.