President John Evans Atta Mills has criticised the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) for failing to provide data needed for policy formulation and implementation.
He said two years after the administration of the first Baseline Data Questionnaire, a substantial number of these agencies had either failed to respond or had responded with data that were not susceptible of scientific analysis.
Launching the national conference and policy performance management system in Accra, the President expressed concern about how response had been virtually negative as regards the requisite monthly updates of data that the performance management system required for effective monitoring and evaluation.
The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, on November 27, 2009 inaugurated the Policy Evaluation and Oversight Unit (PEOU) of the Office of the President to begin the development of a monitoring and evaluation system that would fulfil the National Democratic Congress' 2008 Manifesto promise to establish a transparent, accountable and value-for-money good governance.
The National Databank created by the PEOU embraces not only the policies/programmes and projects being pursued by the MDAs and MMDAs but also houses such vital statistics as staff data, government payroll details, the national debt stock and government loans approved by Parliament and disbursed by the Ministry of Finance.
President Mills said the country could not continue to manage its affairs without up-to-date and reliable records of “where we are coming from; what we have achieved; what has been the development impact of the achievements; what needs to be done further and how we are going to proceed”.
He, however, expressed the optimism that any problem the agencies had with the questionnaire would be sorted out during the conference.
He reminded the agencies to access the system not only as data providers but also as a participants in the performance tracking of the programmes and projects being implemented.
President Mills said the NDC campaigned for power in 2008 on the platform of transparency and accountable government and expressed delight that accessibility to the web-based monitoring evaluation system was not limited to only public institutions and officials.
He said the data on programmes and projects and the analyses of achievements were open to public scrutiny at both the PEOU's website and the websites of the MDAs and MMDAs, adding that such transparency would help resolve or confound the recurrent partisan polemics on which party's government should take credit for development projects in the country.
He said the system that was launched had been institutionalised as “an organic part of Ghana's public administration, saying “while the present functional focus is the policies, programmes and projects of the NDC government, its infrastructure is trans-generational”.
“It is ideology neutral and capable of being adopted by future governments, as well as adaptable to the peculiar policies and projects of succeeding regimes,” he stressed.
President Mills said governance was a continuous process hence the determination of the government to implement a project which would travel beyond the borders of his administration.
“The political neutrality of the system, coupled with its adaptability to all kinds of administrative objectives, should also encourage our independent constitutional bodies such as Parliament, the Judiciary, CHRAJ, the National Media Commission and the National Commission for Civic Education, to link up with the system's data bank, if only for the purpose of record-keeping,” he said.
The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, expressed delight that the organisation was associated with the system and pledged to support the government to achieve its agenda.