IMANI has always advocated the need for public institutions to be guided by the progressive ideas of asserting their independence from their appointing authorities, effectively and transparently communicating their work to the public in order to achieve transformational leadership.
These basic guidelines collectively help a country in the provision of public goods, such as sound regulation, enforcement of sensible laws, ensuring quality standards where they are needed and above all provision of security for our lives and property. This was to be the basis for IMANI to reluctantly offer rare praise for doing what was expected of public office holders and civil servants, who we pay through taxes.
It also fits our mission statement, which is to subject any government policy that is likely to have systemic implications for development to basic ‘value for money’, ‘due diligence’ and ‘rational choice’, ‘public choice’ and ‘vested interest’ analysis and then actively engage in public advocacy to publicise the results, with a view to promoting peace and prosperity through human flourishing.
As we celebrate 10 years of informing people and influencing policies, our own reflection over the contribution of the public sector to Ghana’s development has been one of disappointment as we have witnessed the slowest public reform efforts over the last decade. This has become worse with the incredible amount of brazen scandals within some public institutions.
In spite of the overwhelming crisis of confidence, some public institutions are struggling to live up to their mandate and values, hence the need to recognise and applaud them for providing leadership.
So here is our Top 5 Most Inspirational Public Sector Leadership Awardees for 2014:
National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA)
Established under the National Health Insurance Act 2003, Act 650, the NHIA has pursued its mandate with passion, save the one-time cacophonous and disorderly promise by the current political office holders to make the NHIA survive on a one-time premium payment. With that spineless dream discarded, the NHIA moved on to make swift and effective changes to its operations through the introduction of the biometric health insurance cards in January 2014.
Aside from its staff working for extended periods of time to register as many persons from all walks of life, especially children, the elderly and pregnant women, public and some private institutions were specially catered for as the NHIA deployed mobile teams to ease congestion at certain registration centres.
Unlike other public agencies, the Authority has a functional website with its mandate and functions well spelt out. Electronic documents on the site are current and relevant. Information about their health providers, district offices and contacts (including call centres) are available as well. However, what the NHIA needs in order to sustain its operations is for piloting the process of taking off relatively well-to-do clients, who are able to afford private health care so it can focus resources on providing quality care for the many indigenes in society.
Environmental Protection Agency
The Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a public agency set up under the EPA Act 490, 1994 with a mandate of formulating environmental policy and making recommendations for the protection of the environment. The EPA has had its fair share of battles with industry and their externalities. However, it has been able to achieve some appreciable measure of success in terms of monitoring environmental activities as well as extending some level of support to the private sector.
For instance, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in collaboration with the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands, and Farmerline Limited-Ghana partnered with the EPA and other government agencies to undertake a project aimed at monitoring and collecting data on weather patterns to guide farming activities in Ghana’s cocoa growing areas. The project is to extend support to vegetable and cocoa farmers for effective food production, harvest forecasts, and water resource management.
The EPA has rolled out an energy conservation project. The project, which would be piloted in hotels and other manufacturing companies, would include the installation of energy-saving bulbs, shadow sensors, energy-saving key cards, biogas, among other equipment, that would reduce the cost of energy to between 30 and 40 per cent. The energy saved would in turn be put back on the national grid to benefit industries and reduce the load shedding in the country.
Apart from this, the EPA is working closely with hotels, in particular and other manufacturing companies, to put waste generated by their businesses into a biogas system to help reduce their energy consumption. The EPA can do more. We would like to see it extend its operations to all hospitals, clinics and health posts in the country by working with the private sector to help dispose of biomedical waste in a safe and efficient manner.
Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA)
The GSA is living up to its official expectations to effectively manage the demand side of shipping with a view to protecting and promoting the interests of Ghanaian shippers, by employing innovation in its practice and initiatives to provide cutting edge shipper services that meet the dynamics of the maritime industry.
The GSA has over the years ensured that the Ghanaian shipper has real time, safe and reliable delivery of import and export cargoes by all modes of transport in the most cost-effective manner. The GSA has enhanced its competitive edge through its continual cooperation and collaboration with private sector organisations and advocacy firms to upgrade the knowledge of the shipping public and other industry-related players through workshops and seminars.
The GSA has played a significant role in the payment of competitive freight rates and other related ancillary charges through continued effective monitoring and negotiations. The GSA in its quest to ensure a level playing field for competition has instituted operational parameters under which providers and consumers of shipper services can operate.
The Authority has also initiated projects that are aimed at infrastructural expansions and upgrades to address developmental and technological changes in the maritime industry. The Authority has been effective in its pursuit of excellence in ensuring optimum deregulation and liberalisation of shipping services in the country.
However, the GSA could extend its finer leadership qualities to the leadership of the Ports, Harbours and Customs in order to rid itself of corruption. It is disheartening to hear that due to the many corrupt acts at our ports and harbours, clients in inland countries are diverting most of their cargo away from our ports to neighbouring Ivory Coast and Togo. Clearly, the Presidential Task Force on checking corruption at the ports and harbours have done very little to help.
Registrar General’s Department
The mandate of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is to ensure an efficient and effective administration of entities inter-alia the registration of businesses, industrial property, marriages, administration of estates, and public trustees; to provide customer-friendly services and accurate data for national planning. Testimonies from the private sector are positive and indicate improvement in the registration of businesses. Now delays associated with the registration of businesses have significantly reduced. This is partly attributed to the online registration on the agency’s website.
The RGD has also been instrumental in the campaign for the protection of intellectual protection rights. This year, they partnered with IP Network Ghana to stress the essence of IP rights and its implications for creativity and innovation. The RGD need to decentralise its operations through the setting up of mobile registration centres or employing an army of volunteers to register as many small and medium enterprises as can be covered. The formalisation of businesses for SMEs will enhance their growth while earning tax revenue for the government.
Ghana Stock Exchange
The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE)’s performance in a difficult 2014 was partially successful based on its impressive performance in 2013. For the first six months of 2013 recorded a very impressive performance as against the whole of 2012. From January to July 2013, the GSE Composite Index stood at 61.39 per cent, as against 6.06 per cent for the whole of 2012.
The GSE Financial Stock Index equally stood at 61.66 per cent, as against 0.53 per cent for the entire 2012 total market capitalisation for the period under review stood at GH¢55.78 billion as against GH¢54.95 billion in 2012 with domestic capitalisation doubling from GH¢5.57 billion to GH¢10.57 billion. Total volume of trade was equally on the rise. At the close of business on July 31, total trade stood at 209.16 million as against 218.13 million, for the whole of 2012.
In terms of value, total trade at mid-2013 stood at GH¢230.51 million, as against GH¢102.2 million for the whole of 2012. Reviewing the market, Bloomberg and other international news wire service described the market as “best performing market in Sub-Saharan Africa”.
Listed companies also recorded significant price increases during the first half year. Out of the 34 companies, CAL Bank led the gainers with 194 per cent followed by Enterprise Group Ltd. with 191 per cent, Benso Oil Palm Plantation, 150 per cent, GCB, 134 per cent, and PZ Cussons Ghana, 122 per cent. Seven companies gained more than 50 per cent in their share price while eight companies gained above 10 per cent. Eleven companies maintained their prices with only four recording some level of depreciation.
Investor interest in the market soared with the massive performance of the bourse. This is evidenced in the fact that the number of equities changing hands increased by 161 per cent, compared to the previous period. Volume traded also exhibited a similar trend; hence growing by 435 per cent. The introduction of the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX) by the GSE has afforded some SME’s the opportunity to secure much needed longer term capital at a relatively lower cost allowing for future expansion, growth and greater ability to stand competition.
The Ghana Stock Exchange was established in July 1989 as a private company limited by guarantee under the Companies Code of 1963. It was given recognition as an authorised Stock Exchange under the Stock Exchange Act of 1971 (Act 384) in October 1990.
So, that’s it for the leading lights for 2014.
Source: Franklin Cudjoe
Founding President, Imani Ghana