Weakness in state institutions due to how they are constituted – Dr Jonah

Dr. Sam Jonah

Dr Sam Jonah, a Member of the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership Initiative (OPGI) under the Public Sector Reform Secretariat, has said the weakness in some state institutions is often due to how they had been constituted.

He said more often than not weakness in state institutions had been attributed to lack of resources yet in most of the cases, the resources were there but due to a defect in the constitution of the leadership structure it became weak.

Speaking at a public consultation forum in Kumasi on the OPGI, he said some of the institutions were suffering and unable to perform their functions effectively largely because the “scratch my back” syndrome appeared to weigh on the performance of the institution and not lack of resources.

Dr Jonah cited the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for instance and the public outcry for the inability of the committee to prosecute or sanction people who were cited to have embezzlement huge state funds.

He said the PAC was a clear example of such institution where its composition was rendering it weak and questioned how politicians at the PAC could strictly probe matters when they would in turn need the support of the very people who came before them.

He called on the public to make inputs into the action plan for the OGPI to ensure integrity and accountability in managing public resources and offices for improvement in the lives of the people.

The OGPI is a global tool to improve public services and increase public integrity to create safer communities and improvement in cooperate accountability and in connection with that Ghana is expected to develop a national action plan for submission to the global secretariat of the OGPI by December 2012 to demonstrate its commitment to the implementation.

The four thematic areas under the OGPI are transparency, citizen participation, accountability and technology innovation.

One of the key areas that the OGPI was focusing since it was the basis for transparency and accountability among public office holders is the Right to Information law.

Nana Aboagyewaa Kente, the Konkrohemaa of Asante-Mampong, who was a participant at the event, said with the sudden rise in public debts payments it should be part of the thematic areas where the OGPI would focus its attention to ensure equity and transparency in public funds.

She also stressed the need for the OGPI to look at the issue of gender since it was a factor in attaining any meaningful development of a country.

Nana Aboagyewaa Kente urged the steering committee to demonstrate their commitment to women empowerment by involving more women on the steering committee.

Source: GNA

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