US$35m project to improve efficiency at passport office and other agencies

Parliament has approved a US$35m World Bank facility that will finance a proposed Public Sector Reform for Results Project (PSRRP), aimed at improving efficiency in critical state entities such as the Passport Office, Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority and the Births and Deaths Registry.

Such institutions will be supported to, among other things, use mobile and web-based applications and associated support to improve service delivery.

Other state agencies expected to benefit from the five-year project (2019 – 2023) include CHRAJ, Office of Head of Civil Service and the Public Services Commission.

It is divided into four main components, with the first focused on strengthening Organisational Performance (US$7.53m) by supporting the entities to improve their performance, organisational management and service delivery.

Component-two focuses on improving efficiency, accountability and citizens’ engagement in delivery of selected services, at a cost of US$20.09m.

The third component, at a cost of US$3.5m, seeks to improve monitoring and evaluation across government institutions. The focus here will be on improving monitoring and evaluation capacity in state institutions.

The final component focuses on Project Management Coordination and Public Reporting at a cost of US$2.55m, and will support day-to-day management of the project.

Accordingto the Finance Committee report on the financing agreement between government and the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group, the project will contribute greatly to government’s overall objective to modernise the economy and also improve public service delivery.

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The Committee noted that funds under the project will be allocated to sixteen (16) beneficiary institutions under the two main streams; baseline non-result-based financing of US$23.2m, and a results-based financing of US$11.80m.
As to why a greater portion of the funds are being allocated under non-result-based financing, the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, explained to the Committee that non-result-based financing will be allocated for the beneficiary agencies to enable them achieve certain intermediate objectives.

Upon measuring the intermediate objectives, the remaining amount (results-based financing) will then be allocated in accordance with the performance of each agency in achieving their set intermediate objectives.

On the issue of long delays at the passport office, the Director of Passports explained to the Committee that interventions to be implemented under the project will help reduce the passport collection period from 21 days to 9 days for manual applicants, and from 9 days to 3 days for expedited applicants.

The Committee also sought to find out from the Ministry of Finance, Public Sector Reform Secretariat, Monitoring and Evaluation Minister whether the anticipated reforms will entail job-losses. Regarding this, it was explained to the Committee that there will be no retrenchment or downsizing at the beneficiary agencies.

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The aim of the project is to enhance the efficiency and productivity of the agencies, and the staff-rationalisation may only entail reassignment of staff to ensure efficiency.
The project is targetting frontline public sector service delivery institutions in the country, and to ensure sound policymaking and implementation the parent ministries of the selected entities have also been included.

Background

To address the institutional weaknesses and improve accountability, government through the PSRRP intends to focus on service delivery to the people of Ghana and corporate entities by front-line public sector entities.

This will be characterised by a shift from traditional methods of service delivery to rapid-result delivery on priority areas.
The project will be conducting real-time monitoring of service delivery to citizens for prompt attention. To achieve this, government has developed the National Public Sector Reforms Strategy (NPSRS) 2018-2013 to guide its public sector reform agenda.

The proposed PSRRP is therefore designed to support implementation of the NPSRS. It will support the development of core public sector systems which are directly linked to the performance of day-to-day functions and execution of selected MDAs’ mandates.

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