The President said this in a speech delivered on his behalf by Ms Hannah Serwaah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, at the opening of the Fourth Biennial Africa Public Service Day in Accra. The Africa Public Service (APS) Day, which is celebrated on June 23 every year, is an entrenched continental event in Africa to reflect the functions of the Civil/Public Service as well as recognise the positive contribution of public servants and their benefits to the population, civil society, private sector and government.
Public service ministers from Africa, diplomats from Africa Union Secretariat, academics, parliamentarians, representatives from ECOWAS, and student bodies are participating in the week-long celebration. It is on the theme: “Africa Public Service in the Age of Open Government: Giving Voice to Citizens”.
President Mahama said the theme for the forum was apt, relevant and appropriate for the time, especially with the rise of democratic movements the world over and in Africa where citizens are asking for a greater say and participation in the policy making processes and in governance.“
All governments in Africa are currently faced with new challenges of governance and are making concerted efforts at the national, sub-regional, regional, districts and international levels to forge partnership with non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, business communities, the private sector, the labour unions and others,” he said. He said partnership was critical because no government alone had all that it took to meet the needs of the people. President Mahama said while each government had its manifesto programmes and national goals to fulfil, “we must accept that for proper participation, there is the need for giving voice and political space to our citizens through effective citizen engagement to reconcile their multiple interests with national aspirations”.
He said engagements helped to deepen democracy, strengthen social capital, promote pro-poor initiatives, facilitate efficiency, promote sustainable growth and socio-economic development, equity and social justice. President Mahama, therefore, called for the strengthening of the existing institutions by ensuring that the necessary structures, systems and procedures were in place to tackle emerging challenges that went with rapid economic and social transformation to build strong institutions nested in the rule of law. He announced that Ghana is developing mechanisms for promoting citizen-based monitoring and evaluation of public policies and programmes to provide feedback and suggestions on ways of improving social and economic development programmes.
President Mahama said in the area of local governance, government recognized the valuable role of traditional institutions which served as verifiable mouthpieces for giving voice to the local and marginalized poor.“
We are working closely with our National House of Chiefs; the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs; prominent local opinion leaders including community based organizations of our rural folks and citizen groups to provide a more viable and sustainable interface between the concerns and the government in enhancing local economic development,” he said.
Mr Alhassan Azong, Minister of State at the Presidency, responsible for Public Sector Reforms, said the APS Forum was a unique global capacity-building event on public governance. He said it provided an opportunity to build a shared understanding among all actors on innovations, policy and practices that member states could adopt to revitalize their public administration systems to promote greater socio-economic development.
Mr Azong said every year the forum focused on a specific critical area of public governance and explored an organic way the different dimensions, approaches and implications for service delivery to the citizenry could be harmonised. He expressed the hope that the forum would assist them to explore, share knowledge and experience about the innovations, policies and practices for rejuvenating public administration, including the delivery of public services, with a citizen-centered focus. Source: GNA -