Business News of Monday, 5 November 2018
The World Bank has approved a 35 million-dollar International Development Association (IDA) credit for Ghana’s Public Sector Reforms.
The World Bank assistance is meant to improve efficiency and accountability in the delivery of public services for 16 selected ministries departments and agencies.
Chief Executive of Public Sector Reforms, Thomas Kusi Boafo, revealed this at a mini-sensitization launch in Kumasi of the National Public Sector Reform Strategy.
Over 100 participants from Ashanti and Bono Ahafo Regions attended the ceremony.
The theme for the event was ‘Delivering for Citizens and the Private Sector’, aimed at ensuring an efficient, effective and responsive public sector in Ghana.
The 16 targeted entities comprise five front-line service delivery agencies.
They are the Passport Office, Ghana Immigration Service, Births and Deaths Registry, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), their respective parent ministries and key entities that provide oversight, guidance and services to these entities.
Implementation will start in January 2019, under the Public Sector Reforms for Results Projects.
Mr Kusi Boafo said the reforms will prioritize citizens’ needs and leverage on technology in service delivery to reduce corruption.
“People are complaining a lot of about acquisition of passports, driving licenses and births and deaths, so we have a lot of problems. We are going to make sure that we mainstream them so that the human element and touch is seriously reduced because that is what breeds corruptions.
“The digitization will shorten processes, and facilitate the work of the private sector, reduce corruption and so they will get money to expand,” he said.
The project is results-oriented and places special emphasis on strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as the first step towards greater integration of M&E in the policy-making process.
The regional launch of the strategy document was a prelude to a country-wide sensitization exercise before the end of the year.
The goal of the strategy is enhanced public service delivery to citizens and the private sector, with three sub-goals, are as follows:
– Cultivating a new direction of purpose in the public sector;
– Building the capacity of personnel, who deliver public services and;
– Strengthening the public service delivery processes.
Mr. Kusi Boafo says effective implementation of the reforms will strengthen both the private and public sector.
Public sector reform in Ghana
Various governments have implemented public sector reforms in the past but have not done the expected well.
In the early 1980s, for example, reforms were aimed at tackling the public service crisis in the context of the structural adjustment programmes (SAP).
These reforms included:
– First Education Sector Reform Programme, 1986;
-Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) decentralization programme, 1988 and;
-Civil Service Reform Programme (CSRP), 1987 – 1993.
The Fourth Republican era has also witnessed the introduction of some wide-ranging public sector reforms.
-Civil Service Performance Improvement Programme (CSPIP), 1994 – 1998 and;
-National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP) 1998-2000
The Ministry of Public Sector Reform (MPSR) was established to facilitate and coordinate public sector reforms between 2005 and 2008.
In 2009, the MPSR became the Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS) at the Presidency and existed from 2009 to 2016.
Monitoring and Evaluation component
There have been successive public sector reform strategies and people have complained that they have not seen a very effective implementation of past reform efforts in the public sector.
The public sector reform strategy on this occasion under the watch of the senior minister, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, is serious about getting a strong monitoring and evaluation component.
The move is to make sure that the implementation is effective and one way to do that is to introduce a robust monitoring and evaluation system, and the system is to delineate a very clear output and outcome that the reform strategy is supposed to achieve.
The monitoring and evaluation role allows day-to-day monitoring and periodic review of the program and its performance.
Special Advisor for Monitoring and Evaluation at Office of the President, Nana Serwaa Akoto Bonsu Amoako, says this time they will not wait till the end of the output in 2023 and ask the question of, “did this strategy work, did we achieve the outcomes, and did we meet the intended objectives?”
A Result Matrix has therefore been designed at the office of the senior minister and this matrix will have indicators that will track the implementation of the activities.
“So if they are supposed to implement an activity for the next quarter, At the end of the next quarter they are supposed to report on that indicator and that indicator will let us know whether it is being achieved, if it is not then we have to raise the red flag for them to know that there is a gap they need to close,” she explains.
Officials say the Monitoring and Evaluation Ministry is going to work very closely to the senior minister’s office to ensure that the implementation of the strategy is more effective and more robust and there is a rapid results delivery component that will ensure that the intended results and outcomes are being achieved.
The Ghana Public Sector Reform will also support relevant entities to strengthen citizen engagement, accountability and complaints handling.