A day’s workshop to validate Ghana’s business consultations portal to enhance access to government policies was yesterday held in Accra.
The portal was developed by Index Com Limited with funding support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).
The workshop sought to seek the inputs of all stakeholders before it becomes operationalised.
It was attended by representatives from Ministries including Trade and Industry, Energy, Information, Parliamentary Affairs, Works and Housing and other institutions such as the University of Ghana.
Opening the workshop, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, said the gathering was to assess the functionality of the portal which was to address challenges with access to government policies.
One of the major challenges to policy implementation in the country, he said, was the lack of access to regulatory provisions and other directives that enable the citizenry to make informed decisions.
The portal, the Deputy Minister explained, was an innovative way of making information readily available through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
It would also help in obtaining fast and effective feedback from the public in the implementation of policies, he stated.
“This portal is to use modern systems to assess the impact of what we want to do before it is done. This ensures a quick feedback on policies from Ghanaians.
“If the majority of the Ghanaian public argue that this policy or that policy does not work in our interests, this quick feedback helps government to focus on what the people want and desire to be done,” Mr Ahomka-Lindsay said.
Governance and Legal Manager, Index Com Limited, Jude Tuffour, explained that one key objective of the portal was that it allows a government agency to consider the impact of its policy options which would likely lead to better outcomes and higher acceptance in the society, particularly among stakeholders who might be adversely affected by the policy.
It would also enable continuous consultations with key stakeholders though all stages of the regulatory cycle which help in identifying and understanding potential problems, he added.
Additionally, broad-based consultations which would be made possible by the portal, Mr Tuffour said, would help to identify the risks of regulatory capture, which occurs when a regulator acts in ways to benefit the industry it was regulating rather than the public.
Nana Benyiwa Baffoe-Bonnie, Senior Programme Manager, DFID Ghana, indicated that the development of the portal was part of support to the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s business support regulatory strategy.
Since 2015, she explained that DFID has supported some agencies including the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Judicial Service and among others, to develop business enabling programmes to improve efficiency and output.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS