Mr. Kojo Yankah, founder of the African University College of Communications (AUCC), says the failure of many government policies is due to the inability to communicate effectively with Ghanaians.
He said current and past governments have failed to broadly involve citizens in introducing major policies and communicate them properly to the people, pointing out that the situation has caused major policies to fail, which would have could change your life.
Citing the electronic transaction tax (E-levy) and the closure of toll booths as examples, he said the government had not engaged citizens enough on policy and decisions before they were implemented.
“I think a lot would have been accomplished if current and past governments had actually communicated these policies to the people,” he said.
“Listen, you don’t sit in Accra and think that once you make an announcement at a press conference, everyone in Ghana gets it. It’s just a guess. So what I’m saying is we’re getting it wrong in communicating policies to people,” he added.
Mr Yankah said this in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of a public forum organized by the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra.
The forum is part of a year of activities celebrating the Department’s 50th anniversary.
Forum discussions focused on the topic: “Communicating Development Beyond Politics: Can Strategic Communications Principles Help in the Digital Age?”
Panelists included Dr. Mustapha Hamid, Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Ms. Kathleen Addy, Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Ms. Esther Cobbah, CEO of Stratcomm Africa.
Mr. Yankah, a former MP for Agona Est, lamented the high rate of politicization of major national policies, noting that the situation does not bode well for the country’s development.
He urged the government to engage more with district assemblies to ensure that policies were well communicated and understood by the local population in order to gain their support and buy-in.
Yankah, who is also a former deputy information minister, said the government had extended broadband rollout beyond what he called “privileged communities” and made it accessible and affordable. in rural areas, adding that community radio stations should receive special attention. consideration to improve the dissemination of information at the local level.
Currently, there are only 15.7 million internet users in Ghana, while internet penetration stands at 55%.
Mr. Yankah said: “We must make sacrifices and raise the level of technical know-how if we are to effectively use the principles, principles and skills of strategic communication to invite the majority of the population into the democracy and development that we we all aspire to build.
Contributing to forum discussions via online, Dr. Mustapha Hamid, CEO of NPA, called on government communication mechanisms to establish closer collaboration with civil society organizations (CSOs) to build public trust.
He said soliciting input from CSOs on key policies before they are implemented would build people’s trust and ensure acceptance and success of the policy.
He also called for the strengthening of independent state institutions such as the Information Services Department (ISD) and the NCCE, to enable them carry out their mandate of public information and education.
Ms. Kathleen Addy, President of the NCCE, attributed the setbacks suffered by the electronic direct debit to the government’s decision not to engage the Commission before its deployment.
“In an ideal situation, the NCCE would have been consulted to assist in education on policies such as e-direct debit before they were implemented, but this was not done,” he said. she declared.
Ms Addy added: ‘It’s not a completely wasted course. As part of our work as educators, we do tax education. Ideally, if we had been involved in the education process before, it would have been better. Maybe we could have got some feedback from the Ghanaians and that would have informed the deployment.
Ms. Addy reiterated the need for Ghanaians to prioritize development over the interests of their political parties.
Madam Esther Cobbah, CEO of Stratcomm Africa, said Ghana’s development agenda over the years had been a quick fix and the country needed to develop a concrete strategy, including strategic communication to better disseminate policy information. to specific audiences.
She said: “there is no good governance without strategic communication”.