The government remains committed to forging partnership with civil society organisations towards deepening democracy by implementing a variety of measures to ensure open governance in the country.
The Minister of State Responsible for Public Sector Reform, Alhaji Alhassan Azong, made the remark on Thursday at a validation workshop on the 2016-2017 draft National Action Plan on Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative.
The OGP is a multi-stakeholder initiative that aimed at commitments for promoting transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harnessing new technologies to strengthen governance with significant implication for advancing development in the country.
The late Professor John Evans Atta Mills signed on to the OGP initiative, on behalf of Ghana, soon after it was launched in 2011 by the administration of President Barrack Obama of the United States of America, to provide an international platform for domestic reforms committed to making governance more open.
Mr Azong said following the signing on to the initiative, Ghana developed and implemented the first OGP Action Plan 2013-2014 adding that the second OGP Action Plan would build on the progress and achievements of the first action plan.
The Minister of State Responsible for Public Sector Reform explained that Ghana submitted itself for an Independent Research Mechanism, and also presented a self-assessment report on the implementation to the Global OGP Steering Committee.
He added that assessment of Ghana’s implementation of the initiative by the World Bank in March gave the country high marks, hence the continuation of the initiative with the development of the second action plan for implementation in 2016-2017, adding that the plan would be concluded by the end of the month.
Mr P.A.K. Danyo, Deputy Director of the Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS), explained that the commitments under the action plan would be implemented by designated ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) ,whose operations reflect the commitment.
He said for effective monitoring of the action plan, OGP Point of Contacts (POC), would be identified in the designated MDAs, adding that the PSRS would hold quarterly meetings with POC to collate updates on the implementation of the commitments.
Among the initiatives to be implemented in the second plan of action is the strengthening of efforts towards a Fiscal Responsibility Bill.
Under the 2013-2014 action plan, Ghana committed to enact a Fiscal Responsibility Law that would instill discipline in fiscal management with a view to ensuring governments spend within approved budget estimates, but that effort had not been accomplished.
The action plan would also improve the efficiency of the Ghana Open Data Portal (data.-gov.gh),data collection capabilities of data controllers and focus on showing impact in four sectors health,education,energy and agriculture by ensuring that full benefits of open data could be shown in these sectors.
From Salifu Abdul-Rahaman, Dodowa