Accra, March 14, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday pledged his Government's resolve to reform and improve the Civil Service to attract high quality professionals and technical human resource. To do this successfully, nagging problems including low salaries, generally poor conditions of service, lack of incentives like cars and mortgage loans at all levels would have to be addressed, he said at the launch of the comprehensive work programme for Public Sector Reform in Accra on Tuesday. He said in view of its strategic importance in achieving Government's goals, the Service must be loyal and competent in the discharge of its functions.
President Kufuor said the Public Sector Reform Programme (PSRP) initiated by the Government should be seen as a central part of the overall national development agenda, the success of which must ripple through all sectors of the society. It must, therefore, not be viewed in isolation neither must it attract any partisan labels. He said the nature of the reform was such that its success would to a large extent depend on a streamlined Presidency, Ministries, Civil Servants, Departments and Agency Heads. "They must all coordinate and co-operate, share a common vision and work to a common purpose. These team Leaders in particular should become the main change agents", he said.
President Kufuor noted that the partnership between the public and private sectors resulting from the reform could become the main driving force for the economy. He recalled the various public sector reforms undertaken over the past 10 years at a cost of more than 120 million dollars but which somehow failed to bring about the desired high performance of the sector. He said various factors including non-existence of a comprehensive programme encompassing all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, duplication of efforts, lack of uniformity in standards, in areas like performance measurement, accounted for the limited impact. He used the occasion to announce the establishment of the President's Public Service Award for Excellence. A Committee has been set up to work the details for the award to commence in June, this year. He said the winner would be entered for the African Public Service Excellence Award established by the African Union.
Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Public Sector Reform, said the state of the public sector was not good and lacked the ability or motivation to be an effective partner of the private sector. It lacked training, education and was bedevilled with poor record keeping and ineffective bureaucracy that created administrative corruption, he said. To help to change this would require firm and unwavering leadership, consistent application of resources, good people and equipment, he said. Earlier, Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, said strike action was unknown to the tradition of the public service. "The tradition has been to work and manage itself by consensus and not through strikes," he said. He said the public sector should reform itself to get the best value of the manpower at the sector's disposal.