By Frederick ASIAMAH
Mr Thomas Kusi Boafo, Chief Executive Office (CEO) of the Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS), has exclusively informed Business Day that Ghana is set to outdoor a “Public Sector Reform Strategy.”
The PSRS, which is under the Office of the President, has together with stakeholders have been working on the document for about seven months with cabinet already giving its blessing to the document.
This document, with a five-year timeline (2018-2023), will be different in the sense that it will provide a clear direction to public sector institutions in terms of guiding their service delivery with emphasis on efficiency.
So, in the era of this document, acquiring a passport, registering a land title, acquiring a driver’s licence, clearing goods at the top are supposed to be stress-free and without the slightest taint of corruption.
More details of the strategy and the financial commitments for its implementation are expected to be outlined when the Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance, presents the government’s fiscal policy and budget statement to Parliament this week ahead of the document’s official launch in December.
According to Mr Kusi Boafo, the target is to make the public sector a citizens- and private sector centred one.
Instructively, there are indications that the 2018 budget will be focused on industrialisation.
This will be achieved through the six pillars or programmes of the document, namely: Citizens and Private Sector Focus; Capable and Disciplined Workforce; Strengthening Public Sector Regulatory Framework; Modernisation and Improved Working Conditions; Strengthened Local Governance Structure and Digitized Public Sector Systems.
Each of these programmes will be implemented across the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MMDAs) and the financial commitments would be made to those structures.
One of the pillars, which is already in full swing in spite of the document awaiting its outdooring and full implementation, is the digitization of businesses.
Currently, the ports area undertaking paperless clearing; the Registrar-General’s Department is undertaking e-business registration; the National Identification Authority has launched the digital address system and the national identification registration process; while the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has introduced the smart card.
All these process are expected to be boosted in the regime of the strategic document while new initiatives are rolled out by other institutions.
Meanwhile, Mr Kusi Boafo can promise that one of the things that will change about the Ghanaian society is that corruption will be minimised, if not eradicated. He said “…now public sector workers will no longer be seen as an enemy of the private sector. People believe the public sector are (sic) there to milk them.”
Ultimately, “In five years we want the Ghana Public Service to be the best in Africa, if not among the best, so that the turnaround time of doing business in Ghana will be shorter, very efficient. If you say you’re going for passport and we say two weeks it is two weeks; when you get to the port and you have goods clearing the goods if we say it is going to be three days then it is three days; land registration if we say its six months then you get your land title and it is six months,” he indicated.
A key outcome of the strategic document is the preparation of a citizens charter.
The rationale, according to Mr. Kusi Boafo, is that citizens out to know their responsibilities, know where they should go at any point in time to make enquiries, report their problems and be aware of action to be taken.