Information Ministry proposes Development Communication Fund
The Ministry of Information is considering the establishment a Development Communication Fund, as part of efforts to secure adequate revenue for activities that would keep the citizenry better informed to engender their active participation in the development processes.
Mr John Adjei Appiah, the Acting Chief Director, said when citizens became enlightened and got involved in the decision making processes, they would have a sense of ownership of the policies, projects and programmes intended for their wellbeing and maximise the benefits.
To be able to this effectively, he explained that Ministry would mainstream development communication into the activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and play a central role in harnessing information from the Government to the people and vice versa on all developmental activities.
At a forum on the issue with representatives of the various MDAs, Mr Appiah said as the Ministry was woefully under-funded, it needed to explore several funding options to effectively execute its mandate.
The core mandate of the Ministry of Information is to disseminate information on public policies, programmes, projects and activities to the citizenry and also gather feedback from them for policy review and refinement.
This function, he emphasised, needed the collaboration of the MDAs and other relevant stakeholders, hence their engagement to gain consensus to the best way forward.
“The Ministry of Information is seeking to shift this current information sharing model to one of Development Communication; where the Ministry mainstreams information dissemination and leads the execution of development communication, the focus of which would be the major flagship programmes of government,” he explained.
“This would go a long way to make government better accountable to the people.”
Mr Appiah said communicating with the public was an important responsibility of the Government; therefore, therefore, the communication must be coordinated to ensure that they were consistent with the Government’s overall objectives and decisions; they were clear and also timely.
“The content and timing of each public statement on a policy or the announcement of some government action, including appointments and agreements, should be coordinated by the responsible Minister’s office, the Ministry of Information and the Office of the President,” he explained.
He said the policy objectives of the Ministry included ensuring free flow of relevant public information in pursuance of an open government policy; effectively and efficiently monitoring and evaluating public responses to government policies, programmes and activities; and providing timely feedback to the Government.
Mr Appiah said the present state of some key people giving public information that they were not adequately briefed about was not helpful to anyone seeking information.
“The Government of Ghana Cabinet Manual 2017, under section 1.4.7, encourages Ministers to avoid making public pronouncements that are not in agreement with the collective position of the Government.
“Even though Ministers are encouraged to endeavour to inform the public and the media of their sector policies and implementation activities in accordance with the cherished democratic ideals of transparency and participation, they are, nonetheless, admonished to avail themselves or adhere to the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Information,” he stated.