The Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of government-society relations and the need for trust between citizens and their government.
According to her, to ensure effective service delivery, while at the same time maintaining good government-society relations, both during the COVID-19 crisis and in the post-pandemic recovery period, the Government of Ghana, in line with its obligations under international human rights law, is committed to upholding the rule of law, accountability, democratic processes and good governance.
Speaking at the 72nd Annual New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana on Tuesday, Mrs Osei-Opare said the COVID-19 had created and also brought to light capacity constraints in the delivery of essential public goods and services, especially in the health sector.
According to her, the virus has adversely affected infrastructure, security, public order, health, social protection and assistance, education, housing, labour and indeed every element of societal well-being.
“The resulting skills gaps, capacity deficits and lost jobs and economic opportunities will require that governments be creative in governance in the future. Importantly, we must rely more on technology, innovation and digital governance to render public services and goods,” she said.
To do so, the Chief of Staff noted that the government, in collaboration with the private sector and international development partners, has put in place measures to ensure that the digital divide is addressed.
She added that the government has also provided support to health care workers, i.e tax reliefs and incentives, insurance scheme for affected health personnel and salary top ups for frontline staff, as well as general relief for citizens in respect of water and electricity supply.
She further said that the government adopted additional strategies to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on the citizenry by setting up the COVID-19 National Emergency Response Taskforce. It also tasked the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and other relevant sector Ministries, Departments, Agencies and stakeholders to collaboratively implement policies and response plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“Laboratory and testing centres, isolation and treatment centres were arranged to assist with contact tracing, surveillance and treatment of persons infected with the disease.”
“Regular broadcasts by the President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to the nation, provided updates on the progress of interventions and measures taken to contain the spread of the disease. During one of such regular updates, the President announced the Cedi equivalent of USD 100million to enhance Ghana’s coronavirus preparedness and response plan,” she said.