Vice President of think tank IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, has said political interference remains a major barrier to productivity in public sector administration.
IMANI Africa’s Public Sector Leadership Award is among the country’s private-led credible honours for public institutions that are achieving or exceeding efficiency and productivity targets.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, he said for the public sector to deliver on its mandate and meet global standards, the country’s political leadership must change its mindset about what public administration system must be.
“What we are running is a [public] system where we put people who we want to call employed…and then we hope that they will perform a certain set of services.
“Many of us are aware that they don’t perform good services but we are happy to keep them there and to pay them. It is some sort of a camouflaged welfare system,” he told host Daniel Dadzie.
Ghana’s poor public sector system is reflected in the country’s falling rankings on the Ease of Doing Business index compiled by the World Bank.
The latest report for 2019 ranked Ghana at 114th with a score of 60.4 and in 2020, the country is ranked 118 with a score of 60.
In 2018 Ghana dropped marginally compared to the previous year. The Ease of Doing Business report measures businesses’ competitiveness in 190 countries.
Mr Bentil said rethinking the public sector would involve engaging professional private firms to deliver results that the public sector has been unsuccessful at.
“We should start looking at the public sector as a unit that must deliver a set of goods and services. And these goods and services are crucial for the movement of the whole country…if our public services do not deliver those sets of goods and services, this country is not moving…
“If, for instance, the Controller and Accountant General, which has to audit government payroll…and every year we are having problems – I am not saying that is what is happening – we should just take that job and outsource it to four [private] auditing firms,” he suggested.
A lecturer at the Department of Public Administration of the University at Ghana Business School, Dr Daniel Appiah, also said his reading around Ghana’s public sector shows that the sector was more efficient in the colonial era.
“Both locally and internationally, we have this negative image that our public administration system has become very dysfunctional,” he also said on the Super Morning Show.