Mr Alhassan Azong, Minister of State in-charge of Public Sector Reform on Wednesday reaffirmed government’s commitment to implementing the proposed new approach strategies for Public Sector Reform in the country.
He said the new approach approved by Cabinet in August 2009 was geared towards having Sector Ministers assume responsibilities for and become proactive in tapping resources for public sector reform for their sector programmes.
Mr Azong was speaking at the opening session of a two-day seminar in Accra on the development of pilot performance and evaluation contracts for two subvented agencies in the Health and Education sectors.
The seminar was sponsored by the French Government, as part of its support to Ghana’s Public Sector Reform organised at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
Mr Azong said the health and education sectors were the largest pro-poor public services with the highest number of subvented agencies, thus making it easier to replicate the pilot performance contracts.
He said the delivery of basic public services by these two selected institutions to the populace and the quality of these services must measure favourably against Millennium Development Goals, Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda and the Strategic Plans for these sectors.
Mr Azong explained that the new approach to public sector reform posed new roles and responsibilities by placing accountability for public sector reform collectively with Cabinet and individually in the hands of Ministers of State.
He mentioned that the new approach was initiating institutional structures to help in fostering responsive and adaptive capacities of the public sector, adding that, the proposed approach was a problem-solving system, rather than a standard public reform programme.
Mr Azong said government would continue to pursue Subvented Agencies Reform Programme (SARP) as part of the broader public sector reforms, designed with the objectives of reducing the recurrent burden on the national budget.
He noted that the Subvented Agencies Act of 2006 provided the signing of performance contracts with the Agencies to reduce their dependency on government subvention and improve efficiency, productivity and accountability.
Mr Frederic Clavier, French Ambassador to Ghana said the seminar would go a step further in the re-organisation and enhancement of Ghana’s subvented agencies.
He said the subvented agencies played an important role in the implementation of public policies formulated by government at national, sector, regional and local levels to deliver public services to institutions and the citizenry.
Mr Clavier expressed his country’s preparedness to continue to partner with government to implement other programmes that would move the nation forward, hoping that at the end of the seminar, a draft performance contract would be developed and signed by the respective departments and officials.
Mr Jones Yaw Sarkodieh, Lecturer at GIMPA said performance contract was one of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank sponsored reform programmes introduced to government to developing countries in the late 1980s to ensure State-owned enterprises performance.
He explained that performance contract was a freely negotiated performance agreement between the Government, acting as owner of government agency and management of the agency with specified intentions, obligations and responsibilities of the two contracting parties.
Mr Sarkodieh said signing a performance contract committed public officials to perform to or beyond the specified targets which created transparency in the management of public resources.