Parliament

Penplusbytes, a non-governmental ICT organisation has started a five-day pre-verification tour of sites of selected government assurance project in the Ashanti, Savanah, Northern and Upper West Regions to access, at first hand, their statuses to aid public accountability processes.

The verification exercise forms part of the “Connecting Citizens to Parliament II” project, being implemented by the Pensplusbytes with technical support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

Mr Jerry Sam, Programmes Director of Penplusbytes, said “the visit was necessitated by the need to confirm the authenticity of citizens’ feedback on government’s assurances especially related to easing the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare delivery and water and sanitation issues.

He explained to the Ghana News Agency in Accra that the project, aims at complimenting the efforts of Parliament through the Committee on Government Assurances (CGA) to effectively play its oversight role on the Executive.

That, he said, would also ensure improved public service delivery.

He explained that citizens, through the online digital platforms created, were now better informed and updated on pertinent government assurances that affect their lives via SMS, web-forms, mobile apps as well as social media.

“This has enabled the citizens to actively keep track of key government promises and to send feedback reports to the CGA”.

Mr Sam said a digital platform created under the “Connecting Citizens to Parliament II” project, has made it possible for thousands of messages to be received from citizens, mostly on assurances being presently monitored by the committee, and so the verification process was to ascertain the progress of work in those selected regions.

Officials of the Penplusbytes were already on project sites inspecting the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Tafo Government Hospital where construction works on maternity blocks were currently on-going, he said.

The newly constructed Wa Regional Hospital as well as some water projects in Tamale and Damango would also be inspected.

Mr Sam said the outcome of the inspection tour would form part of a policy brief that would be generated and passed on to the CGA ahead of their own monitoring visit at a later date.

Thereafter, a final report would be prepared to serve as evidence to the work of CGA’s public hearings.

The engagement by the CGA with citizens, who are their eyes on the ground, is yielding significant inputs through the utilization of well-developed digital platforms that allows them to report on the progress of work on various projects promised by government.

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