IMANI Centre for Policy and Education released its annual public-sector performance report on December 20, 2017, at an awards ceremony and dinner held at the Tang Palace Hotel in Accra.
The report, the seventh since 2010, named Inspirational Public-Sector Leadership Awards ranked 45 Ministries, Departments and Agencies on five main pillars: Engagement, Transparency, Social Inclusion, Innovation and Management Effectiveness for the period October 2016- October 2017.
The five institutions that emerged as most inspirational were the Ministry of Communications, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry, the Food and Agriculture Ministry and the Ministry of Finance.
Five others, the Ministry of Justice & Attorney General, the National Youth Authority, Public Utility Regulatory Commission, the National Media Commission and the National Sports Authority ranked least inspirational.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was one of two public institutions that was specially acknowledged for being the most transparent in 2017. The other was the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, recognised for being the most socially inclusive public institution.
In his acceptance speech, the Deputy Minister of Communications, Hon. George Andah said such rare recognition for his Ministry’s work was testimony that they had chartered a new path to truly serving the public. He urged his fellow awardees to be spurred on by the awards to help the government realise its objective of impacting the lives of Ghanaians in a positive way. Hon. Andah suggested IMANI include the registration for the Ghana Post digital address as a criterion for compliance in next year’s awards. Earlier, the Minister of Communications, Hon. Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful acknowledged the award and said ‘’we appreciate it and it will spur us on to work even harder next year’’
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Otiko Djaba in her acceptance remarks, said she and her ministry have resolved to be consistently named in the top five list of IMANI’s inspirational public-sector leaders. For her, it was the least she could do to bring attention and relief to all who are covered by her ministry’s work.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto was convinced that the IMANI award was vindication that his vision for Ghana’s agricultural transformation was on course. He used the occasion to emphasise the need for agriculture and agri business to be seen as the country’s insurance against hunger and poverty. Dr. Akoto dedicated the award to the valiant farmers who are making credible sacrifices to realise his ministry’s flagship project, the Planting for Foods and Jobs.
The CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Yofi Grant, couldn’t be happier. While promising to be the most inspirational public leader in 2018, Mr. Grant said business and investment promotion in the modern era demands consistency in the use of modern tools of communication to package opportunities and shepherd prospective investors, local and foreign, to realise them. Mr. Grant promised an ergonomic environment for his staff next year to make them more efficient.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Frimpong Boateng said he had not heard about the awards until he received an email from IMANI. He said knowing IMANI’s work is taken seriously, he knew a lot must have gone into assessing the public agencies and certainly arriving at the conclusion that his ministry was the most socially inclusive in 2017 meant he and his ministry must do more to be named in the main awards in 2018 and beyond.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry, Barbara Oteng Gyasi said the IMANI recognition meant her Ministry was doing something very right. She was positive that a speedy implementation of reforms to ensure credible and efficient land registration and documentation will earn the ministry a place in the top spot of the main awards in 2018.
The Finance Minister had planned to attend the event but was overwhelmed by equally pressing matters. The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. John Peter Amewu received the award on behalf of the Finance Ministry. All the Ministers of state were on time for the event. Most of them reported nearly forty minutes before the actual start of the programme.
The keynote address was delivered by David Ofosu Dorte, Managing Partner of law firm AB&David. Mr. Dorte is an internationally respected lawyer in the field of public-private partnerships. He spoke on the theme Defeating Public Sector Corruption Should Begin with an unbend-able Procurement System.
Mr. Dorte lamented the lack of progress in using best procurement practices to fight public sector corruption. For him, civil servants more than politicians were the worst culprits in perpetrating procurement fraud. Many donors are yet to harmonise their procurement systems after many years of admitting the challenge it poses to fighting procurement-based corruption. However, he advised that once Ghana had agreed to move beyond aid, donor procurement systems for passing on aid may be phased out sooner and Ghana must adopt a procurement system fit for private-sector transactions in order to optimise gains from our public-private partnerships.
Mr. Ofosu Dorte advised that the public-sector reform agenda must not be cosmetic. In the last four administrations before the present one under President Nana Akufo-Addo, the units responsible for public sector reform have either been elevated to ministerial positions or just given a desk in a reclusive room within the presidency. Today, we have a Ministry for Monitoring and Evaluation and our Senior Minister, Mr. Osafo Marfo is leading efforts at breathing life into a public-sector reform strategy adopted by the Mahama administration as a pre-condition for the IMF bailout.
‘’While self-appraisal exercises by any government is noble, it seems we can make maximum use of external evaluations of our public institutions by civil society actors. After all, it is not the duty of members of civil society to be praising governments, so you can expect sincere feedback. However, at IMANI we have also learnt that often rare praise for befitting public-sector conduct can be inspiring and in this particular case, spur on the public reform effort.’’ said Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President and CEO of IMANI.
The Ministry for Monitoring and Evaluation and IMANI will work together to organise the 2018 Public Sector Leadership Awards.
The Personal Assistant to the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation who represented the Minister communicated the intentions of the Ministry to IMANI’s CEO.