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19.07.2005 Feature Article

African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Report -an opportunity if ......

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After the heat died down about whether it was the President or Ghana that was reviewed, it is clear that the answer was not just both. But everything or person that we could possibly conceive of, as Ghanaian. Although the biggest responsibility lies on the current president.

We certainly have to face the fact about how to make good on the progress made to be the first nation to be peer reviewed on the African continent along with Rwanda.

President Kufuor though was skeptical by saying this about the report, "its not a perfect report yet the time has been too short for the forum to go in-depth into the reports. (Joy News, 20 June 2005)

He did go ahead to tell his peers at Abuja, about "the steps taken by his country to address the main issues raised in the report including: human resource development with free education up to age 16 as a key element, enhanced private sector development, additional investment in the agricultural sector, emphasis on setting up of strong anti-corruption systems and improving wages and incentives to stem the brain drain." (Abuja, 19 June 2005)

The implementation of the report will be initiated after the August summit as we were told by Dr Konadu Apraku. "He did not give the break down of the cost of implementation but indicated that the largest chunk of the amount would go into corporate governance." It seems to me that there is seriously something wrong here.

Especially, as "the report revealed defects in public service delivery and the prevalence of corruption in public administration, but noted a strong performance on corporate governance." (Ghanaweb, 20 June 2005)

I would like to suggest to Minister, Dr Konadu Apraku to go back to the drawing board. He needs to do his banding or ranking well to convince Ghanaians and also the funding institutions about this decision.

Otherwise, it will end up like all other government projects that did not seem to alleviate the plight of the poor. He should try and work hard on how he came about the above deduction or conclusion again. Since the chapter three of the report on good governance emphasized efficient markets among others.

It sounds like something is seriously wrong in his judgement, since corporate governance itself is a dynamic process and could not be tackled by a single APRM report, but an improvement on the structures of "business culture" in Ghana. That is to say upholding the intergrity of internal accountability mechanisms that govern all stakeholders of corporations.

The former decision if followed through will lead to the bad prioritization which could not reap the gains from the thematic areas that impact on poverty. It is not the duty for instance of government, to implement corporate governance. What we do not seem to articulate is that, "trade unions have a key role to play in the global and national agendas of corporate governance reform. "

This can and should only be guided by workable or applicable laws of the land. I wish the Minister comes out with clear ACTIONS and BUDGET on the APRM implementation to warrant the release of $3.2 billion by any institution.

By the way, how does one reconcile the other figure "an amount of $2.847 billion would be required to implement the recommendations"announced by Professor Adjepong.

The Programme of Action (POA) by which the country's weaknesses and deficiencies and shortcomings would be adequately addressed to put the country back on the right footing. Which of these two people is entitled to throw in the cost for implementation at this time?

How about if in reality it ends up to be $4 billion during the next summit or even falls far short of what was envisaged earlier? This is exactly the "business culture" I talk of, if you do not have the facts do not gamble with the figures. It's an advise to all our leaders.

The Minister also told us Ghana has not been reviewed yet so why even be bothered about how much it would cost at that early stage. My concern is that when these conflicting figures are picked up by financial institutions it becomes to difficult to get the right deals when the reality shows otherwise.

It should not be made to look like just throwing figures around and blaming inaction for the unavailability of necessary funds. Every diem should be accounted for if we are to be boast about good governance. Otherwise international financial institutions will not take us seriously.

We are also all aware how a single Ghanaian, an individual is competent and ingenious to raise $3.5bn to buy a hotel (Hotel Kufuor or The Hotel) in Ghana at the blink of an eye or at rocket speed. Whereas a whole country is unable to do enough to give the right of education, health to its citizens. We are also being told we need to borrow to make the APRM Ghana report work.

There should be stated measurable goals, outcomes and stated evaluation of the procedures in place to track implementation and stated results and time lines or time frames.

Otherwise this whole exercise of APRM will amount to putting money in the pockets of one entity, a party, group or individuals. It should not be encouraged if the NPP-government for that matter, the President is to be seen as working towards solving the weaknesses in his tenure of office.

We should be able to read into the APRM report implementation project goal with these features; actions to be taken to achieve each goal (target), who carries on the action, the resources required, the resource provider, estimated cost of the resource, the amount involved in cedis, contributions or expected contributions from the various funding sources.

Without this I do think not even the Economic Minister of Ghana will allow any budget allocations for the Apraku's APRM implementation. Neither will it be possible for the Blair Commission Report on Africa to give the grant, or funds from the debt write-off and pledges from African leaders and any such institutions as the African Development Bank (AFDB), Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) will materialise.

The Regional Integration and NEPAD Minister should have by now shown the direction in which he was going to have given the breakdown. Certainly corparate governance should not take the big chunk since it will only mean another lost opportunity for the poor.

The NEPAD Minister does not have justify President Wade, one of the founding father's of NEPAD, who last year accused his colleagues of wasting time and money on conferences, travels and hotel costs with few results.

At the same time I think it is unacceptable for President Wade to campaign or attempt to alienate Ph.D or doctorate holders on the continent in the national development effort by saying "Africa does not need Ph.Ds. He can attempt to do that in his native Senegal. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

James W. Doe
James W. Doe, © 2005

The author has 15 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: JamesWDoe

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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