By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Aug 6, GNA - A communique issued by participants at the end of a day's workshop organised by Passionate Africa Leadership Institute (PALI) has urged the Government to set up a Citizen Commission.
The policy advocacy forum dubbed "Public Interest Conversation" was organised by the PALI Centre for Natural Capital Governance and Social Accountability in partnership with the Drolor Centre for Strategic Leadership.
“Building an era of Efficient Delivery of Public Goods and Services” was the theme for the Public Interest Conversation powered by the PALI -Center for Social Accountability and Natural Capital Governance in partnership with the Drolor Center for Strategic Leadership, UPSA, with support from Tomreik Hotel, East Legon.
The communique urged the Government to set up an apex body where citizens could seek redress and lodge their grievances whenever a public official was lackadaisical in the line of service delivery such as in the issuance of passport, birth certificates, Driving License, Permit for Building, pensions administration, utility services and health delivery.
"We recognise the attempt of setting up a citizens’ complaint centre by the Mahama led –administration," it said.
"In the view of the Institute, a mere complaint centre would just be another para body of the state with no punitive powers; without the requisite capacity to investigate and above all, lacking a sufficient mandate to handle non-performance by Public Servants and other serious cases including physical abuse or manhandling of fellow citizens by wielders of the security apparatus," it added.
It said a Commission with sufficient constitutional powers of equivalence to that of a High Court or similar powers of an ombudsman was required to fill a vacuum.
"The hatching of the idea of a Citizens’ Commission was necessitated by the existing disbelief in the courts system, the culture of settling civil matters at home and the cost involved in engaging the judiciary," it said.
The communiqué said it was the considered view of PALI that setting up a commission to police the relationship between the ordinary citizens and actors of the state will further deepen and strengthen the social bond and contract that existed between the governed and duty bearers.
"We need to give proper meaning to decentralisation of the delivery of pubic goods and services such as acquisition of birth certificates, passports and efficiency injection into building permit acquisition," it said.
"We need to re-examine the motivation of persons who choose the public sector and recruit rightly as the lapse in such processes leads to so many of square pegs in round holes."
It noted that the Public Services Commission should be empowered as an independent authority for hiring and firing actors of public services who did not match up to performance standards.
It said there was the need for the nation to reorient and retrain actors of public service through a comprehensive capacity building and enhancement process as part of training and development programmes on regularly basis, anchored by a strict monitoring and evaluation regime.
"We need as a society to reconstruct our productivity culture and work ethics.
"We demand greater political will and commitment on the part of leadership to ensure an era of efficient delivery of public goods and services," it said.
The workshop discussants included Mr Hebert Krapa, Government’s Spokesperson on Governance and Legal Affairs; Mr Vincent Manu Frimpong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Middle Belt Development Authority; Dr Enoch Opoku–Antwi, Leadership Consultant; and Mr Paul Drapson, Speaker, National Youth Parliament.
Others were Mr Lawrence Offei Asare, Drolor Centre for Strategic Leadership, UPSA; and Mr David Annang, Acting Chief of Administration, State Enterprise Commission.
Sir Frank Paa Kumi, Founding President, PALI was the convener of the Public Interest Conversation.
PALI is a Pan-African driven human development and natural capital governance institution.
It envisions an Africa where leadership is inspired by selfless public service, impeccable integrity and a sense of purpose beyond power.