Eric Appah Marfo/ Priscilla Oye Ofori, GNA
Accra, Dec. 3, GNA - The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) on Tuesday held a seminar to inform government and key stakeholders on the plight of Civil Service Organizations (CSOs) in the country.
The seminar created the platform for the presentation of the 2018 Ghana CSO Sustainability Report and allowed for a dialogue amongst various institutions on ways through which the efforts of CSOs could be strengthened.
Mr Douglas Quartey, Development Consultant and Author of the Ghana Civil Service Organization Sustainability Index (CSOSI), said the prevalence of project-based funding in the CSO sector has made it difficult for organizations to retain employees or offer them permanent employment, particularly on terms comparable to those in the public and private sectors.
He said in 2018, the increase in rents also made it difficult for CSOs to rent office spaces in the urban centres and this has led to many CSOs relocating to peri-urban areas.
Also, while urban CSOs tend to have good basic office equipment, small CSOs especially in the rural areas lacked well-equipped offices with computers and basic software.
However, Mr Quartey said, in 2018 there was an improvement in CSO advocacy as they interacted more frequently and at higher levels with all three branches of government and for the first time, the judiciary was engaged in discussions about delays in adjudicating cases.
In the same year, he said, CSOs and CSO coalitions had structured engagements with the President of the Republic, Cabinet, Parliament and the Judiciary on issues such as anti-corruption, fiscal and economic management, decentralization, health, oil and gas and the judicial process.
Mr Quartey said CSOs have been involved in public decision-making processes, such as the preparation of national and district budgets and development planning, citing an instance where the Peasant Farmers Association submitted three proposals addressing the inclusion of the agricultural sector in the 2019 National Budget.
Mr Quartey called on government to ensure comprehensive national consultations on the implications of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda on sustainability of local CSOs.
Government should expedite on Not-for Profit Bill through broad consultations especially with grassroots organizations.
He said government should set up a national fund to be accessed by CSOs for public education and service delivery and accelerate on-going measures to develop a vibrant philanthropy regime to support local CSOs.
He urged CSOs to lobby government to provide tax incentives to private sector that fund CSO operations.
Also, Mr Quartey said CSOs should organize more training programmes and encourage the frequent use of the local dialects during these programs so that they could maintain a stronger link with the grassroots.
Dr Emmanuel Ayisi, a Research Fellow, said the country needed to be repositioned and reoriented to be self-sustaining and develop its own resources.
He urged CSOs to diversify their sources of funding through the building of joint networks, hedging of financial resources, developing business minded approaches, credibility building and engaging in more consultancy.
Dr Ayisi advised CSOs to cut down on cost and apply financial management measures adding that they should build alliances and coalitions to enable them make stronger cases for the release of funds from donors.
He said CSOs should reorient and restructure their programs so as to benefit from the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Ayisi said they should redirect and intensify their advocacy on corruption to expose and make corrupt officials face the laws to serve as a deterrent to others and also protect the country’s purse.