A five-Year National Public Sector Reform Strategy to help change the face of the public service for it to deliver high quality services to the public and the private sector was launched in Accra on Wednesday.
Launching the strategy, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the five-year (2018-2023) reform strategy would review and modernise the current structure, systems and processes and the internal management functions of the public sector to support the government’s development priorities.
Additionally, he said, the strategy, which was also targeting the private sector, was based on the conviction that a vibrant and vigorous private sector represented a major tool for the socioeconomic transformation of the country.
As part of the five-year strategy, the human resource capacity of the public sector will be strengthened to improve public service delivery, while management initiatives will also be pursued to deal with apathy, resistance and reform fatigue which have been the bane of previous reforms.
Furthermore, private sector training institutions will be resourced to help develop the requisite skills and knowledge needed for the delivery of modern services.
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The strategy also envisages the establishment of a central assets and inventory check system to take stock of assets in the public service and the revival of the culture of maintenance of property, as well as the digitisation of public sector services and systems.
An electronic records management system in metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and the adoption of a paperless system will be rolled out.
Giving the reasons for the reform, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana had an efficient public sector after independence, but in recent times the public had issues such as absenteeism, lateness, incompetence and corruption to complain about the delivery of the public service.
He said successive governments had embarked on various reforms to improve the public sector but all had achieved very little because the requisite level of the public sector was still not attained and that was the reason his administration had initiated the reform process.
The President said international best practices required a robust regulatory framework to define and shape the nature of work and service delivery of the private sector.
He said as indication of the importance attached to the management tool of the strategy, a Client Service Unit and a Client Service Charter would be launched before the end of the year.
He noted that appropriate measures to review, revamp and regulate the implementation of the unit and the charter would be taken by prescribing a uniform format and standard.
Similar units, with required modification, would be set up by all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), he added.
He said he believed that modernised and improved working conditions were key to increasing productivity in the public sector and that there was going to be a systematic review of public sector compensation with the institution of a suitable performance-based rewards system and improved work environment to guarantee increased productivity.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the new strategy would not suffer the fate of past ones and that matters relating to policy formulation and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, reporting and accountability had been factored into the strategy and pledged that there would be availability of resources for the reforms to be successful.
He said a communication team would be established to support the coordination of the scheme through engagement with the private sector, public agencies and public and civil servants and that a website had also been established to provide adequate information.
The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, under whose watch the reforms would take place, said despite the fact that there had been efforts to reform the public sector since the 1960s, “we have never been able to achieve the desired results as a country”.
He said Ghana had not been able to achieve value for money, in spite of the resources that had been channelled into the public sector as wages and salaries.
“We need to look at providing services for the citizenry and the public sector because the people are paying for them,” he said.
He said the government’s transformation agenda of Ghana beyond aid required the necessary reforms in the public sector to make it work.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said reforms already initiated by the government, such as the national identification project, the paperless port transition, mobile money interoperability and all the others, required the private sector to make them work and succeed.
He said if the private sector was unable to reform to respond to the reforms in the public sector, no impact would be made.