The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has charged the Public Relations Officers (PROs) of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to make the public aware of the initiatives the government has used to manage the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, effective dissemination of the achievements of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration and State-Owned Enterprise (SOEs) by the PROs would give hope to Ghanaians about the efforts the government was making to improve the quality of their lives.
Addressing the Second Annual Information Services Department (ISD)/ State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) PROs Summit, Mrs Osei-Opare said the government had already resolved a lot of challenges that the country faced under the previous administration.
"As you work in your various organisations daily, it must be clear to you that the ministries, departments and agencies under the Akufo-Addo administration have done a lot in resolving the challenges that it inherited when we came into office in 2017," Mrs Osei-Opare said.
"There's a lot that has been done that you can share with the public. Despite this severe impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the administration had already commenced work on several initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of Ghanaians.
"We should collectively do a better job in making the public aware of these developments to give hope to the people. I ,therefore, encourage you to do more on information dissemination on the government's achievements, particularly the achievements of SOEs".
Mrs Osei-Opare reiterated that the government remained committed to funding the acquisition of new vans which would enhance the work of ISD officers at the regional level.
She said President Akufo-Addo gave an assurance at the last cabinet retreat that funding would be released to purchase the vehicles during the second term.
Mrs Osei-Opare said the administration had been satisfied with the output of the Ministry of Information under the leadership of Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
She also commended Mr Oppong Nkrumah for adopting innovative approaches to the dissemination of information about government activities.
"We have had significant improvement in the work of this ministry. To achieve this, your ministry has been adopting various innovative approaches such as the twice-weekly Minister's Press Briefings, the Nation Building Updates events, social media promotion of government policies, projects and positions, the mass media and public education campaigns and the development of communications campaigns".
She said PROs of the ISD had played a critical role in helping the ministry to achieve all its successes, urging them to work harder because communication of government policies and programmes was much more difficult in the second term of any government.
Increase in the number of PROs
In introductory remarks, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said under his leadership, the number of PROs at the ISD had increased to 70 from 40 in 2018 when he took office as the Minister of Information.
He said the ministry had embarked on a drive to improve professionalism within the service by registering the PROs with the Institute of Public Relations and paying their subscriptions, as well as ensuring that they were continuously trained.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the ministry had also developed a partnership with the SIGA to ensure that SOEs became a part of the government's communication efforts.
"We at Information ministry believe that there needs to be a paradigm shift in managing government's communications. The people of our country who pay taxes want to know what the central government, what the local government and what State-Owned Enterprises are doing in their name," he said.
"In the absence of this information, they will rightly conclude that central government, local government and State-Owned Enterprises are not working. The job of the media is not necessarily to promote what government is doing,it is rather our job as heads of communications across the various government offices to forcefully dominate the communication space with information about what the government is doing for and on behalf of the people of Ghana".
He said the dissemination of such information must be a constant activity and not only in times of crisis.
According to him, the ministry was investing to improve the work of PROs because only highly-trained and highly-resourced officers could disseminate information about the government projects effectively.
He also appealed to heads of MDAs to collaborate with PROs to enable them to achieve their tasks.