Professor George K.T Oduro, Former Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast has noted with concern, the extreme political party polarization, which is swiftly sinking the country’s public service.
According to him, the extent to which people’s orientation, particularly those in public service leadership are commitment to partisan issues, is fast undermining the principles underlying public service management and administration.
The practice, he said if not checked, would stifle public service institutions and ultimately the development agenda of the country.
Subsequently, he has called on stakeholders to protect the public service by consciously guarding against situations where political activist tend to micro-manage public service institutions in matters of recruitment, promotions, transfers and dismissals.
Prof. Oduro, a professor of educational leadership and development, expressed these sentiments at the opening of the first annual conference of the Ghana Association for Public Administration and Management (GAPAM) in Cape Coast.
The two-day conference, which was on the theme “Leadership,Technology and Innovation in Public Service Management”, offered a platform for disseminating information, sharing ideas and experiences with the view to improving public service delivery in the country.
Making an exposition on the theme, Prof Oduro underscored the need to make public institutions accountable, responsive and efficient by promoting a more public -interest oriented public management and administration.
“What is more threatening is the politics-indexed, the “heads must roll” orientation that continues to characterise our civil service whenever there is a change of government”, he lamented.
“If as a nation we really value the public-interest principle underlying public service management and administration and are genuinely committed to maximizing the benefits associated with our public service delivery, then we need to protect the public service by ensuring that we do not politicise public service operations”, he said.
He maintained that it is only when conscious efforts are made to protect and support leadership of Public Service institutions, that the public could maximise the benefits of technologies and innovations in the public service.
He said 21st century public service had become more complex and central to the complexity of tasks associated with technology advancement, which required that public servants demonstrated competencies in information technology.
He therefore called on stakeholders to invest in managers’ skills development in technology as a tool for ensuring good public service management.
Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff, described the public service as the engine of development and a key stakeholder in ensuring the well-being of citizens.
She urged managers of public service institutions to be visionary and innovative, to be able to operate effectively within the limited resources at their disposal, stressing that, effective leadership is imperative to translate the SDG’s into prudent policies for excellent public service delivery.
She encouraged public service institutions to position themselves to take advantage of the advancement in ICT in infrastructure, to improve on their service delivery and to put in place policies and processes that would facilitate growth in all sectors of the economy.
Mrs. Osei-Opare reminded public servants of their unique responsibilities to serve the public interest at all times and endeavour to exercise professionalism, customer sensitivity, neutrality, impartiality towards fulfilling the governments agenda of eradicating poverty.
Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, Head of Local Government Services, noted that, the public sector is caught in the cross-fire between rising expectations and limited resources and a growing number of problems that could not be solved by standard solutions.
Hence, leadership, technology and innovation could generate growth, enhance service quality, save money and break policy deadlocks.