Normally, public service is guided by bureaucracy, a system of administration that is meant to ensure its success.
Bureaucracy is guided by a clear hierarchy that defines who has authority; a rigid division of labour; policies and procedures (or rules and laws) that are inflexible and provide consequences for those who flout them; and it is based on impersonal relationships.
It is meant to keep people safe and productive and safeguard the wellbeing of businesses.
In spite of its good points, bureaucracy has bottlenecks.
The major bane of bureaucracy is waste of time emanating from its inflexible rules and regulations that delay the processes of delivering public service.
Delay can create additional costs to a service such as the provision of a hospital in a community. In this case, a certain rigid procurement process must be followed and mostly by the time the process ends, prices might have gone up astronomically.
That means taxpayers would have an extra burden to carry.
Other disadvantages include lack of emphasis on creating additional competencies; expenditures (availability of money) dictating actions but expenditures not properly accounted for; the difficulty to change inefficiencies; fostering a structure that does not create true productivity; and boredom from quota-based systems that hardly maximise productivity.
Others are less freedom to act within bureaucracy as actions are dictated by the rigid rules or laws; high potential of inefficiency; difficult in maintaining high morale; reduction in the opportunity to quickly adapt to changing circumstances due to dependence on rules and regulations; and massive wage gaps that give cause for shop-floor workers to murmur and become unwilling to put in their best.
These bottlenecks truly must be addressed and the Ghanaian Times is happy that no mean a public sector administrator but Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has expressed worry that the continuous existence of bureaucratic bottlenecks, bribery and corruption in the public service, which he describes as ‘demons and principalities’, must be defeated if Ghana is to make progress in its development agenda.
Surely, even the money to be saved from speedy processes that eliminate the bureaucratic delays and lack of proper accountability can be used to do other things that can promote development in some needy communities or sectors of the economy like healthcare and education.
Transparency International, for instance, has had cause to say that there is corruption in all branches of the Ghanaian government.
Workers of public organisations that directly serve the public create situations that make it imperative for those accessing services to pay bribes.
The evils associated with corruption in the country constitute a huge obstacle.
For instance, while needy and less-privileged people like even patients seeking healthcare are exploited, stated funds are siphoned into private pockets, thereby denying the country the critically-needed revenue for development.
What is worrying, according to agencies monitoring corruption in the country, is that the police and the judiciary that must check this crime of corruption are themselves complicit in it such that most corrupt people bribe their way out of any state punishment.
The Ghanaian Times wishes to appeal to Dr Bawumia to recognise the fact that he is in one of the top positions to fight corruption so, he should act now to leave an indelible mark for posterity to emulate.
The government in general must fight bureaucratic bottlenecks, bribery and corruption to enhance the country’s development.