Independent Progress Report Released on Ghana Open Government Partnership
On March 3rd 2015, the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) releases a report assessing Ghana’s compliance with OGP process and implementation of open government commitments in the country.
OGP is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, accountability and responsiveness to citizens. OGP brings together government and civil society champions of reform who recognize that governments are much more likely to be effective and credible if they open their doors to public input and oversight. Ghana joined OGP in 2011. At the end of 2012, the Government developed an action plan containing 13 open government commitments in consultation with a variety of Ghanaian civil society organizations.
The Ghanaian government, under the auspice of the Public Sector Reform Secretariat, began implementation of its action plan in January 2013. A year and a half later, the IRM, the accountability mechanism of OGP, takes stock of progress made on the first year of implementation. The IRM partnered with Mr. Nicholas Adamtey of Transparency and Accountability Initiative to write the report. Mr. Adamtey combined interviews with a variety of government and civil society stakeholders as well as desk research to inform the content of the report.
Some of the most ambitious pledges made in the action plan included plans to prepare and pass the fiscal responsibility bill; pass the Mineral Development Fund Bill; tracking of government investments; amendment of composition of Audit Report Implementation Committees (ARICs) to include CSO representatives and independent professionals; National Information and Technology Agency (NITA) to open two portals to facilitate the collection and dissemination of data to serve citizens; and, pass the right to information law.
Notable progress was made on several of these pledges. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) posted a simplified version of its budget, biennial revenues, expenditures reports and quarterly fiscal data on its website, including some information that was previously not available to citizens. In 2014, the Government also finalized launching the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) platform, making new data sets available to the general public. Even though the draft right to information law was not passed, parliament has collaborated with individuals and civil society organizations to improve upon the bill before it is passed.
Despite these encouraging developments, other commitments saw limited progress. The Mineral Development Fund Bill was not passed. While Government committed to improve funding to the Public Interest Accountability Committee, the agency in charge of oil revenue transparency, funds haven’t been released to the committee on time, preventing it to function optimally. The Fiscal Responsibility Bill was also not passed.
In the report, the IRM researcher made recommendations for next steps for each of the action plan commitments. The IRM researcher encourages the Government to keep working with civil society in developing its next action plan while keeping in mind the recommendations made to ensure the issues that matter most to the people of Ghana are taken up and implemented. Ghana is due to produce its next OGP action plan in collaboration with civil society by June 30, 2015.
Contact: Nicholas Adamtey – 244 539521