Public Sector Reforms to support private enterprise

Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior Minister

Government remains resolute on making the private sector the engine of Ghana’s economic growth, as the new public sector reforms, which kicks start next year, will place heavy emphasis on facilitating private sector growth, the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo assures.

The 2018 to 2023 National Public Sector Reform Strategy (NPSRS) would ensure that the public sector agencies deliver cutting-edge services to the private sector and citizens to lead the job creation agenda on a sustainable basis.

In an address at the 58th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Osafo-Maafo said “the public sector should made aware to provide services to the private sector and the citizenry, as we are in a situation where the public sector thinks that they are doing you a favor when they provide services to you.

“When the public sector’s mentality is to provide service to the private sector, then they will be happy for the private sector to make more money. Because at the back of their mind it is the private sector that provides the revenue for running a country,” the Senior Minister stated.

The NPSRS is expected to review and modernize the current structures, systems, processes and internal management functions of the public sector, to support government’s development priorities.

This has been developed based on three principles, referred to as the 3Ps of public sector reforms, focusing on; building the capacity of people who deliver the public service; and streamlining the processes to ensure responsiveness, efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery at all levels of governance.

The incumbent government has so far shown strong commitment to consulting, supporting and partnering the private sector, particularly in its flagship one district one factory initiative. In view of its own fiscal challenges, government is looking up to the private sector to finance Ghana’s economic expansion, not just through traditional commercial activity but also in the area of the delivery of public goods and services such as economic and social infrastructure.

The impending public sector reforms will therefore improve government’s capacity in areas such as Public Private Partnerships and the delivery of public goods and services used in private sector production processes, such as utilities.

This will require stronger consultations and collaborations between government and various private sector associations such as the Association of Ghana Industries, the Ghana National Chamber for Commerce and Industry, various sectoral associations and the umbrella Private Enterprise Federation.

“If you are the public sector and you are not going to provide services to the private sector, then what are you doing?” Osafo-Maafo quizzed. “It is the private sector that should contribute to the revenue, therefore it is the private sector that should feel your [public sector] willingness to make them succeed.”

The reform strategy, formed part of the structural reform benchmarks of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme (2015-2018), aimed at putting the economy on the path to sustainable growth.

World Bank

Relating to this, the World Bank’s Senior public sector specialist, Jana Kunicova has advised that in reforming the public sector, there is the need to keep the reforms simple, stating, “…try and look at good examples of the things that work in Ghana and then try to translate those reforms into the public sector.”

She noted however that in copying reforms from other countries, which have got great ideas, these ideas should not be transplanted wholesale into the country, but rather Ghana should look for what would work for the country when implemented.

 By Joshua W. Amlanu