…And worst 5 to boot
IMANI has always advocated the need for public institutions to be guided by the progressive ideas of asserting their independence from their appointing authorities, effectively and transparently communicating their work to the public in order to achieve transformational leadership. These basic guidelines collectively help a country in the provision of public goods, such as sound regulation, enforcement of sensible laws, ensuring quality standards where they are needed and above all provision of security for our lives and property.? This was to be the basis for IMANI to reluctantly offer rare praise for doing what was expected of public office holders and civil servants who we pay through taxes.
It also fits our mission statement, which is to subject any government policy that is likely to have systemic implications for development to basic ?value for money?, ?due diligence? and ?rational choice?, ?public choice? and ?vested interest? analysis and then actively engage in public advocacy to publicize the results, with a view to promoting peace and prosperity through human flourishing.
As we celebrate 10 years of informing people and influencing policies, our own reflection over the contribution of the public sector to Ghana?s development has been one of disappointment as we have witnessed the slowest public reform efforts over the last decade. This has become worse with the incredible amount of brazen scandals within some public institutions. In spite of the overwhelming crisis of confidence, some public institutions are struggling to live up to their mandate and values, hence the need to recognize and applaud them for providing leadership.
So here is our Top 5 Most Inspirational Public Sector Leadership Awardees for 2014:
- National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA)
Established under the National Health Insurance Act 2003, Act 650, the NHIA has pursued its mandate with passion, save the one time cacophonous and disorderly promise by the current political office holders to make the NHIA survive on a one-time premium payment. With that spineless dream discarded, the NHIA moved on to make swift and effective changes to its operations through the introduction of the biometric health insurance cards in January 2014. Aside its staff working for extended periods of time to register as many persons from all walks of life especially children, the elderly and pregnant women. Public and some private institutions were specially catered for as the NHIA deployed mobile teams to ease congestion at certain registration centres.
Unlike other public agencies, the Authority has a functional website with its mandate and functions well spelt out. Electronic documents on the site are current and relevant. Information about their health providers, district offices and contacts (including call centers) are available as well.? However, what the NHIA needs in order to sustain its operations is for? piloting the process of taking off relatively well off clients who are able to afford private health care so it can focus resources? on providing quality care of the many indigenes in society.
- Environmental Protection Agency
The Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a public agency set up under the EPA Act 490, 1994 with a mandate of formulating environmental policy and making recommendations for the protection of the environment. The EPA has had its fair share of battles with industry and their externalities. However, it has been able to achieve some appreciable measure of success in terms of monitoring environmental activities as well as extending some level of support to the private sector. For instance, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in collaboration with the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands, and Farmerline Limited-Ghana partnered with the EPA and other government agencies to undertake a project aimed at monitoring and collecting data on weather patterns to guide farming activities in Ghana?s cocoa growing areas. The project is to extend support to vegetable and cocoa farmers for effective food production, harvest forecasts, and water resource management.
The EPA has rolled out an energy conservation project. The project, which would be piloted in hotels and other manufacturing companies, would include the installation of energy saving bulbs, shadow sensors, energy saving key cards, biogas among other equipment that would reduce the cost of energy to between 30 to 40 per cent. The energy saved would in turn be put back on the national grid to benefit industries and reduce the load shedding in the country. Apart from this, the EPA is working closely with hotels in particular and other manufacturing companies to put waste generated by their businesses into a biogas system to help reduce their energy consumption. The EPA can do more. We would like to see it extend its operations to all hospitals, clinics and health posts in the country by working with the private sector to help dispose off biomedical waste in a safe and efficient manner.
- Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA)
The GSA is living up to its official expectations to effectively manage the demand side of shipping with a? view to protecting and promoting the interests of Ghanaian shippers, by employing innovation in its practice and initiatives to provide cutting edge shipper services that meet the dynamics of the maritime industry.
The GSA has over the years ensured that the Ghanaian shipper has real time, safe and reliable delivery of import and export cargoes by all modes of transport in the most cost ? effective manner. The GSA has enhanced its competitive edge through its continual cooperation and collaboration with private sector organizations and advocacy firms to upgrade the knowledge of the shipping public and other industry ? related players through workshops and seminars.
The GSA has played a significant role in the payment of competitive freight rates and other related ancillary charges through continued effective monitoring and negotiations. The GSA in its quest to ensure a level playing field for competition has instituted operational parameters under which providers and consumers of shipper services can operate.
The Authority has also initiated projects that are aimed at infrastructural expansions and upgrades to address developmental and technological changes in the maritime industry. The Authority has been effective in its pursuit of excellence in ensuring optimum deregulation and liberalization of shipping services in the country.? However, the GSA could extend its finer leadership qualities to the leadership of the Ports, Harbours and Customs in order to rid itself of corruption.? It is disheartening to hear that due to the many corrupt acts at our ports and harbours, clients in inland countries are diverting most of their cargo away from our ports to neighbouring Ivory Coast and Togo.? Clearly the Presidential Task Force on checking corruption at the ports and harbours have done very little to help.
- Registrar General?s Department
The mandate of the Registrar General?s Department (RGD) is to ensure an efficient and effective administration of entities inter-alia the registration of businesses, industrial property, marriages, administration of estates, and public trustees; to provide customer friendly services and accurate data for national planning. Testimonies from the private sector indicate are positive and indicates an improvement in the registration of businesses. Now delays associated with the registration of businesses have significantly reduced. This is partly attributed to the online registration on the agency?s website.
The RGD has also been instrumental in the campaign for the protection of intellectual protection rights. This year, they partnered with IP Network Ghana to stress the essence of IP rights and its implications for creativity and innovation.? The RGD need to decentralize its operations through the setting up of mobile registration centres or employing an army of volunteers to register as many small and medium enterprises as can be covered. The formalization of businesses for SMEs will enhance their growth whilst earning tax revenue for the government.
- Ghana Stock Exchange
The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE)?s performance in a difficult 2014 was partially successful based on its impressive performance in 2013. For the first six months of 2013 recorded a very impressive performance as against the whole of 2012. From January to July 2013, the GSE Composite Index stood at 61.39 per cent, as against 6.06 per cent for the whole of 2012. The GSE Financial Stock Index equally stood at 61.66 per cent, as against 0.53 per cent for the entire 2012 total market capitalization for the period under review stood at GH?55.78 billion as against GH?54.95 billion in 2012 with domestic capitalization doubling from GH?5.57 billion to GH?10.57 billion. Total volume of trade was equally on the rise. At the close of business on July 31, total trade stood at 209.16 million as against 218.13 million, for the whole of 2012.
In terms of value, total trade at mid-2013 stood? at GH?230.51 million, as against GH?102.2 million for the whole of 2012.Reviewing the market, Bloomberg and other international news wire service described the market as ?best performing market in Sub-Saharan Africa?.
Listed companies also recorded significant price increases during the first half year. Out of the 34 companies, CAL Bank led the gainers with 194 per cent followed by Enterprise Group Ltd. with 191 per cent, Benso Oil Palm Plantation, 150 per cent, GCB, 134 per cent, and PZ Cussons Ghana, 122 per cent. Seven companies gained more than 50 per cent in their share price while eight companies gained above 10 per cent. Eleven companies maintained their prices with only four recording some level of depreciation.
Investor interest in the market soared with the massive performance of the bourse. This is evidenced in the fact that the number of equities changing hands increased by 161 per cent, compared to the previous period. Volume traded also exhibited a similar trend; hence growing by 435 per cent. The introduction of the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX) by the GSE has afforded some SME?s the opportunity to secure much needed longer term capital at a relatively lower cost allowing for future expansion, growth and greater ability to stand competition.
The Ghana Stock Exchange was established in July 1989 as a private company limited by guarantee under the Companies Code of 1963. It was given recognition as an authorized Stock Exchange under the Stock Exchange Act of 1971 (Act 384) in October 1990.
So, that?s it for the leading lights for 2014. We usually do not publish the top worst performers. However the following deserve critical mentions for being the least inspirational public sector leaders and we offer how they could reform.
- 1.? The Chief of Staff’s OfficeOver the last two years, this office?has been reputably ineffective and profusely wasteful.? Last year the Office of the Chief of Staff alone overspent its budget by about Ghc41 million ($ 13m) on items that are not clear to the public. The Chief of Staff gives orders and counter orders which played out comically in public a few times making a mockery of what is expected of a well coordinated office.? A Chief of Staff?s office should ordinarily be interested in shoring up the capabilities and capacities of the human resources the Presidency has to work with. He must of course be mindful of party political interests. However, he should ensure that the latter does not unduly affect the fortunes of the country. Demonstrably, the former Food and Drugs Chief had been a cancerous failure, reversing almost all the important universally acclaimed professionalism his board and other diligent staff of the FDA had brought to bear on the institution. To have allowed the appointment of same to a very important institution like COCOBOD was not only the worst crime committed in managerial and financial science, it was like thrusting a hot ironed knife into the hearts of cocoa farmers and investors.? A year on at COCOBOD, the fears of many cocoa watchers has been confirmed through the revealing Cocoa documentary by Multimedia?s Joy FM.
The constitution of various boards in this country has been severely undermined by the principle of ensuring differing capabilities on boards to outright mockery of the process by fitting many square pegs in round holes. The results have not been surprising. To have heard and witnessed the shameful and potentially criminal justification of obscene travel allowances for most board members of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority when the airport elevators are for most of the year functionally inactive was worrying. The flooding of important grounds at the Airport was shameful for a ?gateway? to West Africa.? The GCAA?s board most certainly must have made it impossible for the Director ?General of the GCAA to work in order to achieve his otherwise professional productivity.?? ?Air-Commodore (Rtd.) Memphey who was appointed Director-General of the GCAA in 2009, is credited with overseeing the transformation and growth of the aviation industry over the past five years. ?The creation of a Power Ministry is another wasteful venture occasioned by a complete disillusion from a self-imposed chaos in the energy sector.
The Chief of Staff seems to have turned the Presidency into a?hub for negotiating deals that never get passed in parliament or when they are sent to parliament, they are passed at the frightening speed of light. Out of 23 oil contracts, only 7 have been published by the government. As Parliament has become politically unaccountable to Ghanaians on value for money projects introduced by the Executive, the Chief of Staff should be filling the gap.
Redeeming the image of the Chief Of Staff?s Office.
To redeem the office?s dormant and least inspirational image, it must assemble all experts to advice the governments on all its projects to properly evaluate them. On the issue of value-for-money, the 2014 budget statement read ?Government takes a very serious view of Value-for-Money and transparent means for it?s contracting for projects and services that involve the use of public funds?. IMANI on that note proposed that government should ?Declare a moratorium on all the current projects. The government should list all the projects they are currently funding and submit them to a ?Value for Money? review; value for money audits shouldn?t take more than 3 months to be completed. The 2015 budget was however very quiet on the value-for-money initiative in 2014.? This is where the Chief Of Staff?s leadership can be felt. It is heart-wrenching to note that the Tamale Airports was claimed to have been constructed at the cost of $100m and a mere refurbishment of the Kumasi Airport Runway could swallow $29m of our taxes when we know that Ethiopia is building from scratch three very modern airports for a total of $64m.
It is important to understand that?whilst for most strategic projects the requisite expertise may be spread across multiple ministries, departments and agencies, the Chief of Staff must see to it that the Cabinet Office is strengthened through a thorough coordination of expertise across the civil service and above all he must have the gravitas and power to keep the Better Ghana project of the government on course instead of merely existing.
2. The Controller and Accountant General?s Department (CAGD) and National Service Secretariat and CHRAJ
If there were two institutions that had perfected the art of making nonsense of all the reform efforts firmly established by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to rein in the haemorrhaging wage bill, it is certainly the Controller and Accountant General?s Department and the National Service Secretariat. Apart from busily padding the ghost pay roll with more ghosts, the CAGD had refused to allow technology, transparent technology to fix the mess in the public payroll. Under its watch plunderous activities of the National Service Secretariat were allowed passage which leaves the lay public wondering if the two organizations were not directly benefitting from the organised looting. Some Ministries and the controller and accountant general disregard the publicly declared moratorium on employments by the Finance Ministry. The Finance Ministry may well be informed that the vaunted GIFMIS model to check this illicit dissipation of public funds will never work on a faulty accounting system.? Instead of wasting nearly $80m on GIFMIS and pretending to pay human beings through a payment platform called Ezwich, Ghana should simply hand over the entire public payroll to IT specialists such as SOFT Tribe which has been helping clean a part of the payroll they currently manage.? Evidently as the party for all went on with our taxes, even CHRAJ, a body mandated with powers to protect and defend our human rights joined in the loot.? CHRAJ, an otherwise fine institution that performed creditably with fewer resources under Ms Anna Bossman and Justice Emile Short has been severely pillaged, abused by its leadership through brazen acts of corruption. Thankfully, the Chief Justice has established a prima facie case for dealing with the head of CHRAJ so the matter ends there until a newer CHRAJ is born hopefully soon. .
3. The Auditor-General
The Auditor- General had simply been sleepy on his job until shaken by the legal team of the OccupyGhana movement.? That singular action by OccupyGhana to compel the AG to perform his functions was acknowledged by some ministers of state and the President himself. Although the? 2015 budget said nothing substantial on transparency and anti-corruption initiatives the Finance Minister acknowledged in his budget speech, paragraph 142, thus, in 2015 ?the government will implement initiatives to enforce the recommendations of the Auditor General?s report. This will involve sanctioning and possible prosecution of persons indicted by the report.? This was essentially a reaffirmation of the constitutionally mandated charge on the Auditor-General to perform his duty. It would appear the entire Audit Service was simply wasting tax payer funds as it did very poor in justifying the allocated expenditure. The audit service was allocated GH?125,527,610 in 2015 while it received GH?119,115,792 in 2014. This represents a 5% increase. A review of the activities for 2014 and projections for 2015 appear very similar with no visible extension of role to warrant the 5% increase in allocation. If the fight against grand official corruption is to be won, it must be supported by an active audit service.
- The Bank of Ghana and Sports Ministry
The Bank of Ghana through its unwarranted control of the forex market perfected the voodoo act in economics and helped our currency, the cedi lose so much value, whilst rail roading the fortunes of our economy in to an abyss. By the end of December 2014, Ghana?s cedi was adjudged by almost all global financial houses to be one of two worst performing currencies in Africa, the other being the Zambian Kwacha. Both countries are on bended knees at the IMF begging for external financial discipline to be injected in their economies.? ?The Sports ministry took Ghana’s current status as a very corrupt country a step further, earning us higher marks on the grand Hollywood comedy platform as we truly became the butt of international jokes. No further comments.
5. National Pensions Regulatory Authority and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust
These two institutions ostensibly responsible for the future and health of our pensions have by their various public pronouncements succeeded in establishing firmer doubts about the positive future of our pensions. It is still unclear where millions of dollars in pension money have been kept. It is more egregious to leave many Ghana analysts guessing if the millions of pension money missing have not found their way into suspicious bank purchases and several crony capitalist deals which have sullied the reputation of the government internationally. Frankly, it cannot be credible when on the same day in a week, the Ministers of Labour say the value [of pensions] is Ghc 440m, the Pension regulator says GHc 1.64bn ? (remember it is the same figure it says it had last year) ? and later the state owned daily Graphic is reporting that the pension regulator suggests that the real figure is Ghc 2.1bn.? The minister of agriculture sometime last year said the value is Ghc 1.2bn. A forensic audit into the activities of the NPRA and SSNIT be as a matter of urgency be conducted in order to first ascertain where the missing funds are and secondly why contributors to the second tier pension funds are receiving less than 3% returns when the real rate of returns over the period had averaged 16%.
The following public sector agencies deserve special mention for their work. The Ministry of Communications under the leadership of Dr Edward Omane Boamah has effectively neutralized the damaging effect of many government?s untrained communicators. The ministry deserves commendation for increasing access to broad band services although at very expensive rates. The Ministry could have allowed the existing Telcos to provide 4G data and Internet services instead of licensing entirely new companies that are struggling to raise funds for the purpose. The Ministry should examine all arguments in its proposed agenda to have all telecommunication s go through a central port called Interconnect. The Ministry should not be seen centralizing speech and give the impression that civil liberties would be threatened with quite an archaic arrangement known to ex-communist states.
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission deserve commendation for clearly maintaining a credible database of all Ghanaian workers, quite different from the padded numbers the CAGD flaunts with greater dissipation of public funds. The FWSC should be allowed to properly evaluate all public jobs in Ghana and ideally be the one that telling us who to recruit and how many for each government department, agency and ministry.
The Ministry of Local Government comes up for special mention especially as the new Minister seemed to have found favour with many well meaning Ghanaians in his bid to clean the country of filth.?? The Ministries of Trade and Foreign Affairs under Haruna Iddrisu and Hannah Tetteh respectively dealt with the most important trade matter for the sub region, Economic Partnership Agreements.? As the EPAs will be signed, it is important for the current trade Minister Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah to begin plans for national conversations on how Ghanaians can take advantage of the opportunities in the agreement.? As always, IMANI is ready to assist on that front.
So, this completes our assessment of the most inspirational and least inspirational public sector leadership awards for 2014.? In 2015 and beyond, every Ghanaian must actively seek to serve the interests of the country at the least opportunity.? We at IMANI will be helping the government to effectively mobilise revenues for development through our work with DANIDA. We shall use our access to the international diplomatic community and beyond to encourage investments into Ghana.? Happy New Year.
IMANI is Ghana?s Local Think Tank.
Published by IMANI Center for Policy & (www.imanighana.org) & syndicated by AfricanLiberty.org