NDPC holds media dialogue to commemorate International Year of Evaluation
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has held a media dialogue as part of activities to commemorate the International Year of Evaluation (EvalYear 2015).
The event was also an occasion to inform and educate the media to relay information on the relevance of evaluation in policy-making and management and for ensuring better development outcomes.
The UN has declared 2015 the international year of evaluation under which each UN member country is expected to undertake activities to mark the occasion, with a focus on highlighting the relevance of evaluation in policy-making among government, civil society organizations and parliamentarians.
As a result, Ghana has decided to use the commemoration of the year to launch a major campaign towards strengthening the environment for evaluation by developing a national evaluation policy.
In his opening remarks, a Deputy Director, at the Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the National Development Planning Commission, Nana Opare- Djan said government must collaborate with Civil Society Organization (CSOs) in the campaign to ensure efficient evaluation of programmes and activities set out in Government policies adding that CSOs should not be seen as rabble-rousers but collaborators so that together together we can push a common agenda forward.
He urged the media to advocate for more evaluation in the scheme of things so that together we can impact positively on national development policies and programmes, pointing out that the system has focused more on the monitoring part than the evaluation aspect.
The event was jointly organized by the NDPC, the African Evaluation Association, the Ghana Monitoring and Evaluation Forum and UNICEF to drum media support for the cause of monitoring and evaluation which would deepen accountability in the country.
He suggested to government to see some value in evaluation adding that we must develop some level of capacity in the area. He said as a country we seriously need an evaluation policy which when brought to the fore will support other development policy frameworks.
He called for the building of a strong evaluation capacity in the country which according to him is weak adding that a strong evaluation system would be used to revise our policy and planning cycle.
Nana Opare- Djan said from the evaluation report, citizens can demand accountability from government on many fronts since the report gives a detailed account of what have been done and what should have been done.
He said the NDPC would soon sanction public officials who in the execution of their duties fail to provide genuine information for the evaluation of the extent to which their projects and programmes impact the people in their jurisdiction.
The sanctions, according to him would include withholding of salaries of these officials and their interdiction for further investigation.
He said the Planning regulation Legislative Instrument (LI) to give the NDPC the power to crack the whip on such officials is before parliament for consideration adding that the commission would hold further consultation with parliament before the official maturity of the LI in 21 days.
The Director-General of the NDPC, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson lamented the fact that the country has not performed well in time past in record-keeping and administrative data generation and noted that there was the tendency of personalization of public information which does not augur well for the development of public administration.
He said the NDPC would be launching an ultra-modern website in two weeks that would give the public access to information about the issue of development projects in the country adding that about 2000 documents on development projects in the country would be captured on the website.
He said the website when ready would equip the citizen with correct information and keep them abreast with the rate of development across the country.
The NDPC, he said would not rest on its oars in achieving its mandate and was of the view that the commission would address deficiencies in evaluation studies collaborating with research institutions.
On his part, Dr. Charles Amoatey of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration said a study conducted by the Center for Learning Evaluation and Results in a number of African countries including Ghana indicated a low interest in the use of evaluation by the Executive and Parliament.
He observed the fact that we seem to be on top when it came to policy formulation but on the other hand we have a problem on the side of operationalization either because of politicization or the political will.
According to him, we need to have home-grown solutions indicating that the Functional Organization Assessment tool used at the assembly level was a good home-grown tool that should be developed.