IMANI Ghana, a policy think-tank, has given the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) thumbs up for a “reasonable progress in fulfilling its 2016 campaign promises”.
It said there were still yawning gaps between projections and actuals and called for coordination to be able to bring to fruition the lofty hopes given to Ghanaians during the campaign season.
Among them, it said the government must hasten the implementation of the National Identification Scheme to enhance revenue mobilisation and provide a reliable database for decision-making.
At an assessment forum of the one-year rule of the NPP government organised by IMANI and the Department of History and Political Science Study of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi on Monday, a research associate of IMANI, Barbara Andoh, indicated that there was also the need to build a national database on key indicators on employment and productivity for proper economic planning.
Unlike the previous reports that graded the performance of government by assigning percentage score, this year’s analysis was purely a qualitative one with highlights and comments on what had been achieved so far.
The report identified gaps, challenges and offers some suggestions on the effective implementation of the promises.
The analysis zeroed in on eight broad areas – economy, job creation, agriculture, governance, education, health, energy and infrastructure.
Data sources for the assessment included: the 2016 manifesto, 2017 and 2018 budget statements, the coordinated programmes for economic and social development, project and news reports.
She said transparency in the Planting for Food and Jobs programme must be improved as well as improving accountability in managing the infrastructure for poverty eradication project.
As part of the recommendations made to the government, it said the government must be more proactive in combating corruption and explore innovative strategies to fund education and health.
In the 2016 manifesto, the NPP promised to enhance fiscal discipline by promoting transparency, accountability and credibility in fiscal policy implementation.
Subsequently, it promised to amend the existing Public Financial Management Act (PFMA), 2016 (Act 921) to allow for the establishment of a fiscal council.
But IMANI said even though the government mentioned in the 2017 budget its intentions to initiate processes for the establishment of a fiscal council, the 2018 budget did not give an account of the activities undertaken so far towards its implementation.
Ms Andoh said strengthening expenditure management would require that government consolidated its efforts to enforce the Public Financial Management Act.
IMANI said data to establish the number of jobs created had been a problem over the years and it was sad that the NPP after one year in office could not specify the number of specific jobs it had created.
It said, as a matter of urgency, the government must initiate steps to create a database on labour and employment issues. It said such an initiative would be useful for policy planning and project implementation.
IMANI said in spite of the government’s 37 promises made to solve Ghana’s perennial power crisis while providing for the economy reliable and affordable energy supply, it had for the past year only focused on restructuring of the sector debt, reducing electricity tariff and expanding electricity supply.
Among others, IMANI said it was critical to achieve a pragmatic balance between the rate at which the energy sector debt was being reduced and the rate of net debt accumulation by the power utilities.
IMANI commended the government for the bold step in the implementation of the Free SHS but said it should address infrastructure deficit in the sector.
Ms Andoh said the proposed Voluntary Education Fund should augment the GETFUND in addressing the infrastructure deficit only.
On governance, IMANI focused on corruption and indicated that the government could adopt a number of measures, such as Integrity Pacts for stakeholders in public procurement processes.
These were developed in the 1990s by Transparency International and had been used by 18 governments worldwide including Rwanda, Zambia and India.
Touching on a litany of issues including agriculture and infrastructure, the report by IMANI conspicuously left out security and vigilantism which had rocked the country since the NPP took over power.