Government is commitment to reforming and supporting the public sector in providing support services to business, private sector and the citizenry so that opportunities will be created to deal head-on with poverty on a sustainable basis.
Mr Yaw Osafo- Marfo, Senior Minister, reiterated this on Wednesday at the Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop on the Draft National Public Sector Reform Strategy (NPSRS), 2018-2023; on the theme “Delivering for Citizens and Private Sector”.
He said the need for an effective National Public Sector Reform Strategy, had for a long time, been advocated by several state and non-state actors, as well as development partners.
“It has therefore become imperative to develop a comprehensive National Public Sector Reform Strategy, which is responsive to the needs of business, private sector and the citizenry,” Mr Osafo-Marfo said.
The reform programme is also one of the structural reform benchmarks of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Credit Facility (EEF) Programme, 2015-2018, aimed at putting the economy on the path to a sustainable growth trajectory.
The aim of such a reform strategy is to reorient the Ghanaian public sector agencies to deliver cutting-edge services to citizens and the business and private sector to lead the job creation agenda on a sustainable basis and also provide the necessary support to the Executive Arm of Government.
Mr Osafo-Marfo recalled that a NPSRS, 2017-2027, had already been developed under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government.
He explained that after the change of Government early in 2017, the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government, accepted the NPSRS, 2017-2027 prepared under the NDC administration in principle.
He noted that, the Government, however, decided to review the document, within the framework of and in line with their private sector-led development agenda, especially the “Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, 2017-2024” and re-submit it for the adoption of the new Cabinet.
He said based on the recommendation of the Head of Civil Service, the President decided to place the Public Sector Reform under the Office of the Senior Minister.
Mr Osafo-Marfo said the reform vision of the Government was to create a responsive, efficient and effective public sector, which places the catalytic role of Government to support the private sector in job and wealth creation at the centre of all its policies.
The Senior Minister said previous attempts at Public Sector Reforms had yielded only modest results; this he attributed to mainly, due to weak institutional and human capacity, inadequate resources, lack of accountability, poor coordination, poor work ethics, limited modernisation and use of technology, and overlapping functions among public sector institutions.
He said the Government employs a large number of public servants, and compensation for public employees accounts for a large share of government expenditure (about 107 per cent); stating that, “That notwithstanding, citizens complain about woefully inefficient and slow pace administrative service delivery “.
He said: “Complaints are also rife about absenteeism, apathy, ineptitude and perceived corruption.”
Mr Osafo-Marfo said poor records management had been a bane of the public sector, leading to loss of millions of cedis by government to unwarranted judgment debts.
He said service delivery standards at the sectoral level were also aligned to emerging global best practices; adding that “This has led to a loss of trust and confidence in the public sector and necessitated a new public sector that is responsive, efficient and effective in delivering services to citizens, business and the private sector”.
The Senior Minister said there was therefore, the need for a comprehensive attitudinal change and for public servants to move away from being self-serving to pursuing national and public interest.
“Such unproductive tendencies of the public sector ought to stop and I can assure you all and sundry that under my watch as the Senior Minister responsible for public sector reform, it cannot be business as usual,” he stated.
Mr Kusi Boafo, the Chief Executive Officer, Public Sector Reform, said moving the nation forward requires a very serious reforms.
Professor Eric Oduro Osae, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research of the Institute of Local Government Studies, said partnership between the public and the private sector would be meaningless if the public sector was not vibrant or repositioned to be able to live out its mandate.
There were also messages from the World Bank and the African Development Bank at the event.