Development interventions have been part of nation building since time immemorial. Governments have over the years committed significant resources to a wide range of development interventions designed to improve the well-being of the citizenry. It is important to mention that a Government’s development intervention programme can be said to be successful if it is progressive in relation to its development targets to ultimately benefit the people. Some development policy analysts have said that the major challenge that has historically faced the development of this country is not the ability to formulate good and credible development interventions but rather the capacity to monitor their implementation to ensure optimum utilization of the Nation’s resources for fruitful results. The New Patriotic Party won the mandate of Ghanaians to govern on the back of some interventions outlined in their manifestos.
Since last week some Ministers of State designate have gone through the vetting process for appointment into various positions of Government. These prospective ministers had the opportunity of sharing their visions and aspirations for their respective ministries if given the nod. It is heartwarming to note that most of the visions shared by these ministers designate dovetail into the overall development agenda of the President. Much as a well-crafted development intervention is priceless for the achievement of overall national development, it is important to note that such interventions can yield the desired results if they are backed by effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism. It is this importance that makes laudable the decision of His Excellency the President, to set up a ministerial desk in charge of monitoring and evaluation at the Presidency.
Indeed monitoring and evaluation is priceless in any national development agenda. It provides an opportunity to showcase project progress. It reveals mistakes and offers paths for learning and improvement. In addition, it provides valuable feedback and lessons for continuous improvement development policies and plans in line with national budget. If there is any period when monitoring and evaluation should mean so much to us as a Nation, it is now when Ghana has become an oil exporting country with an experience of a strong growth warranting the need for strategic approach to development planning backed by efficient monitoring and evaluation strategies. Monitoring which consists of operational and administrative activities that track resource allocation utilization and delivery of goods and services as well as intermediate outcome is priceless. It is critical to sound governance and necessary for the achievement of development results.
According to the President, the idea behind the creation of the Ministry in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation is to consolidate government’s activities by ensuring that appointees live up to set targets which will culminate in the overall growth agenda. The importance of Monitoring and evaluation can therefore not be over emphasized. It helps Governments to assess the extent to which it has done what it pledged to do within the context of national development policy framework and manifesto promises. Experience has however showed that having a minister responsible for monitoring and evaluation is not a necessary guarantee for ensuring efficient monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Indeed to say that there have been similar portfolios that suffered serious setbacks can best be described as an understatement. The way forward requires a clear definition of the role of the Minister in charge of this portfolio and his relationship with key state institutions in charge of monitoring and evaluation such as the National Development Planning Commission, the Ministry of Local Government, among others. Not too long ago The National Development Planning Commission launched a National Monitoring & Evaluation Manual as a reference document for informing Government on its performance and suggesting what needs to be done to minimize the weaknesses and maximize its strengths. Such a document will be useful for the Minister in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation to guide him in ensuring rigorous execution of policy interventions.
The onus again lies on the Minister designate if given the nod to collaborate with the National Development Planning Commission to ensure the development of appropriate institutional arrangements with clear roles and responsibilities as well as processes for undertaking M&E at the various levels of governance. This is indeed a sure way of making the Minister responsible of Monitoring and Evaluation useful for the overall national development agenda.
BY: DAVID OWUSU-AMOAH, HEAD OF MEDIA LIAISON, MINISTRY OF INFORMATION.