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06.02.2006 General News

Political interference lowers performance in public sector


Accra, Feb. 6, GNA - Prof. Stephen Adei, Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), on Monday bemoaned the low level of corporate governance in the public sector, saying constitutional mandates alone would not by itself improve it unless there was cultural change in attitudes, norms and perceptions.

Speaking at a West African Workshop on Governance in the Public Sector, Professor Adei said although the Constitution gave some Commissions the autonomy in appointment of Boards and Chief Executive Officers, corporate governance in the public sector was still at the low ebb because of political interference.

He said the issue was made worse when people were given appointment on public sector boards not for integrity but as a reward for political patronage.

"One of the issues that has been avoided in the debate of public sector boards is integrity - integrity in appointment and practice. When people are appointed as a reward for political patronage; when non-executive board members demand offices, use of corporate vehicles and other benefits beyond director's fees and sitting allowances etc. that may not be because of lack of knowledge but lack of integrity." Prof Adei said appointees, who were chosen on political considerations rather than competence and ability, tended to please the appointing authority instead of working in the interest of their organisations.

He said the culture of corporate governance was a major determinant of the progress of a country since it determined the quality of the production and delivery of good s, shaped investor confidence and attractiveness of the country.

Citing the collapse of Ghana Airways, the troubles that beset Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Prof. Adei said all those failures could be traced to bad corporate governance in the public sector. Ms Noreen John, Adviser West Africa Governance and Institutional Development Division, Commonwealth Secretariat, said politicisation of the civil and public service remained the greatest challenge to corporate governance in the West Africa Sub-Region.

She expressed the hope that the workshop would go a long-way to improve on public sector governance.

More than 20 participants drawn from the countries in the West Africa are attending the two-day conference on Governance in the Public Sector on the theme: "Governance - Can Private Sector Practice Apply to the Public Sector?"