As the country prepares for the general election in 2020, it is almost inevitable that, the political parties and their respective flagbearers will commence an active engagement of citizens, making commitments to arrest the myriad of challenges confronting Ghanaians, ranging from the management of the economy to improving their socio-cultural status while guaranteeing to provide security – all of which are essential needs and expectations of citizens. Against this background, it is important that, an assessment of the progress made by the current government in fulfilling the myriad of commitments it made in 2016 which secured what is considered by many as an unprecedented victory at the ballot in the 4th Republic, is conducted to gauge the level of performance. This assessment is necessary not only because it will provide citizens a tool to demand accountability from government and various political actors, it will ensure that;
- the government will keep a tab on the commitments it may not have executed to date
- the government will consolidate its accountability mechanisms in documenting and reporting on all initiatives that it has undertaken, particularly those it committed to in its manifesto and crucially
- a basis is provided for a national discourse on sensitive issues which fall through the cracks during policy design and implementation
The 2019 iManifesto is a report that presents the status of implementation of the promises of the 2016 New Patriotic Party (NPP) manifesto. This is not an impact assessment report, but an assessment of the state of implementation of the NPP’s promises aimed at “creating prosperity and equal opportunities for all”. This assessment does not take into account activities, initiatives, programmes and policies which the government did not promise, but has undertaken them due to either (i) exigencies of the time, or (ii) prudent management. It is the expectation of the reviewers that, this approach will ensure that political parties and subsequently government will aim to appropriately gauge the associated risks of implementing their promises made to citizens, which could lead to a reduction in the sensationalism, associated with some commitments made by political parties. Working close to reality is KEY!
To accomplish the task, an assessment framework is developed. For consistency in measurements through time, this framework has been used in assessments for previous governments, with marginal modifications, due to (i) nature of promises made and (ii) availability of information for verifying claims of implementation. This year’s assessment is structured along five themes – which account for all the promises made by the NPP government in 2016. The themes include; Economy, Governance, Infrastructure, Human Capital Investment, and social services.
Collecting data from the 2016 NPP manifesto, all main and supplementary budgets by the government to date, annual progress reports, auditor general’s reports, reports of statutory bodies such as the public interest and accountability committee, parliamentary Hansards, websites of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs, newspapers and news portals, the results show that, the government has achieved an overall performance on executing its manifesto commitment of 48.78 percent. This is a satisfactory progress, according to the IMANI MANIFESTO ASSESSMENT (IMMA) Framework, although it sits in the lower bounds of this interpretation. Disaggregating this performance, the NPP government scores, 54.35 percent in the delivery of its commitments on the economy, 46.21 percent on governance, and 46.44 percent on infrastructure. The government scores 39.13 percent and 43.78 percent on human capital development and social services respectively. Clearly, the aggressive strategy of the government in driving the agriculture industry is seen in its commitment to ensuring that it pushes through most of its promises to “resuscitate” the sector, with positive results registered in some value chains. It is also a progressive sign to see that, performances in the economy, education and infrastructure, are all pushing the median mark of execution. Health and information technology require significant attention. With the final budget of the government having been presented, a window of opportunity exists for further considerations to ensure these themes also see some marked improvements.
A key observation from the data is that, there appears to be an aggressive strategy by the government in ensuring that its manifesto promises are fulfilled 70 percent of all its manifesto promises have featured in policy design with varying levels of implementation, and the IMMA score adjusts for actual performance. Manifesto promises which have seen complete implementation make up about 27 percent of the total commitments made by the NPP in 2016.
It is of utmost importance to appreciate the drag that the number of promises can have on the performance of a government. To this end, political parties in Ghana capable of winning general elections must be realistic, in making commitments to citizens to ensure they can adequately perform and subsequently leverage this as a basis for securing further mandates of governance.
The quality of implementation and impact of the promises as indicated, is not the primary focus of this report. Imani Centre for Policy and Education hopes this report will be interpreted accordingly to ensure this body of work supports the public discourse of manifesto preparation and demand side accountability mechanisms.