Enabling Efficiency in Public Sector Processes via ICT

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
Eric Nsarkoh
Engineer / Feature writer

Ghana and many West African Countries suffer the scourge of a Public Service that does not meet the service expectations of citizens. This problem is symptomatic of ineffective internal processes for Performance Measurement. The lack of streamlined information management processes makes it extremely difficult to obtain the objective metrics required for unbiased assessments of employee and organizational performance. The difficulties in achieving any measure of transparency have nurtured a culture of disregard for the quality of service as well as corruption and other vices.
ICT deployment is most critical now in order to come to terms with the extent to which work processes are delivering the objectives for which they were created. It is particularly critical in financial operations that functionality exists for transaction processing. For example, the commitments, actual expenditure and reporting of operational information can be taken on board in an Internet enabled Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) System. The problem will therefore be how to determine the scope and scheduled priority levels of the various phases required for such a project.


The pattern should be employed in discussions of African Development among citizens of the continent and stakeholders


The World Bank is funding a project for Budgeting and Public Expenditure Monitoring (BPEMS) in the Ghanaian Public Service.

The following are the problem areas:

1. The framework for BPEMS has structural conflicts. The Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) use a different process which is not linked to that of the Local Government Authorities in their relationship with Central Government. Duplication in budgeting is common and cost centre ownership is nebulous.

2. The management of commitments has been overlooked for decades. The present operational regime is therefore contending with many hurdles for introducing a landmark change which will introduce commitment management into the way of working. Legal and organizational hurdles are being surmounted with the passage of the Public Procurement Bill into law. The risk is that there will be a high change management component of any automation efforts at this stage.

3. The levels of consolidation for reporting (district, regional, national, by MDA etc) are manual and tedious.

4. Data Integrity is badly compromised by lack of data ownership structures and multiplicity of data input points for the same data

5. There is no provision for Information Management in the organisational structure of government. No clear mandates exist for systems and there is a clear prevalence of contagion as new initiatives are uncoordinated and the system administration overheads escalate to overwhelm the few resources in place


An ERP Implementation should be carried out with web-enabled software.

Systems Analysis on this should take into account the lack of Performance Indicators, poor ICT literacy and resistance of powerful stakeholders in the status quo

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