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19.06.2005 General News

Ghana to spend to implement POA

By Patrick A. Firempong, GNA Special Correspondent, Abuja
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Abuja, June 19, GNA - Ghana is to spend 2,847,925,363 Dollars to implement the Programme of Action (POA) under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). A report submitted by the APR Panel of Eminent Persons said significant budgetary allocation for some of the activities had already been made.

The report was presented by Madam Marie-Angelique Savane, Chairperson of the Panel at the Third Summit of the APR Forum in Abuja, on Sunday. It said, "Taking into account the multitude of the identified capacity gaps, it is realistic to state that Ghana will in the end not have the ability to implement the programme alone." "There is nevertheless a firm commitment from the Government of Ghana to proceed with the implementation of the programme, " the report added.

The Programme of Action (POA) was based on four main areas that were reviewed under the APRM. These were, Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-Economic Development.

Under Democracy and Political Governance, the report recommended the continued review of the Chieftaincy institution to make them more responsive to the needs of a changing society, land law reform and the provision of adequate funding to governance institutions including the Electoral Commission, CHRAJ and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Other areas were separation of powers to enhance the capacity of Parliament to exercise its oversight functions, review the number of Ministers and the desirability of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

The report also recommended the adoption of a self-binding plan to implement the constitutional requirement for measures to achieve regional and gender balance in Parliament and the Cabinet. It called for the establishment of a central organ with the exclusive jurisdiction to fight corruption and enact laws including the Whistle Blower's and Access to Information Bills. The report called for the promotion of awareness of corporate governance and social responsibility and improvement in public service delivery to the private sector.

The report said business registration and commercial dispute resolution should be engaged holistically with corruption and continued government's efforts to rehabilitate physical infrastructure. It said the government should review the legal and regulatory framework governing corporate activity for their adequacy and relevance to current corporate governance standards such as an amendment of the Companies' Code.

The report's recommendation on Economic Governance and Management called on the government to continue to reform macro-economic policies to achieve some immediate objectives. These include development of infrastructure, diversification of the economy, stable macro-economic indicators and effective fiscal decentralisation.

The report's recommendation on the Socio-Economic Development said the Government should pursue more resolutely affirmative action and gender mainstreaming and to enact the Domestic Violence Bill. The government should in addition take steps through incentives and other measures to bridge the regional disparities and aggressively pursue the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). President John Agyekum Kufuor briefed and answered some questions on the report.

Ghana was the first country to submit to the review process on March 23, 2003 after it was launched on March 9, 2003. The APRM process is designed to be open, participatory and broad-based to embrace all stakeholders including government and civil society organisations in particular women, youth, trade unions and the private sector. It engages all key stakeholders for an exchange of information on good governance thereby demystifying the policy-making processes by building trust in the pursuit of national development goals. A report on Rwanda was also presented to the Forum made up of about 23 African countries that have acceded to the APRM.

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