Dr Sulley Gariba, development policy advisor, at the Office of the Vice President, on Friday expressed the need for the country to build credibility for alternative views to help with the evaluation of government’s policies and programmes.
He said: “We need to have credible personnel who are not politically aligned and are able to provide constructive criticism and alternative views in a bid to monitor and evaluate development programmes,” stressing that evaluation should not be seen as causing harm.
Dr Gariba was a discussant at a forum dubbed: “Ghana Monitoring and Evaluation Forum,” on the topic: “Monitoring and Evaluation in the Public Sector”, in Accra.
The Ghana Monitoring and Evaluation Forum (GMEF) is a network of public spirited individuals who seek to strengthen policy, programme and project delivery in Ghana through the promotion of open dialogue.
Dr Gariba said the people of Ghana would prefer experts giving alternative views needed in the development of the country by giving an independent analysis of situations contrary to what happened on the various television stations every morning or hear the radio stations discuss.
Commenting on the status of monitoring and evaluation in the public sector, he said the two systems were very weak in the public sector and there was the need for public sector organizations to pay attention to that.
“Most of the time, public offices have Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation units but the concentration is mostly on the first two Ps and not the M & E,” he said.
Dr Gariba recommended separate evaluation units in public organizations to ensure efficiency in the public sector.
Professor Kofi Awusabo-Asare, Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast and a local consultant for the National Data Catalog, who did the presentation on how to use data for development, said it was difficult to access data in the country.
“Access is even more critical at the local level where one attempts to seek information on something and he or she is referred to the National Office or told to wait for a response from Accra,” he said, adding “where then does the decentralization come in”.
Prof. Asare said his organization was collaborating with some mobile phone networks to help make data available in a form that would be accessible to all especially the media.
“Good data are essential for effective development planning and evaluation of development interventions, the more people have access to primary data, the more analysis it will generate, more ideas will emerge and the quality of debate on development options will improve,” he said, quoting Rafael Osorio from the International Poverty Centre in Brasilia.