| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
An implementation plan was developed to deliver key technical, human resources, operational and stakeholder/communication goals. Key strategic considerations were i) stakeholder ii) data security iii) operational & technical capacity iv) financial sustainability v) supplier partnership vi) customer service
Stakeholder Buy-in - It was identified from the onset that communication and stakeholder buy-in was critical to the success of the project. In this respect, a condition precedent that contractually obligated and financially allocated resources to communications for the first year of implementation was specified. This involved public education, stakeholder engagement, development of communication material and payments to print, digital television and radio media. This spanned the entire duration of first year operations with a feedback loop to inform subsequent decision-making.
Data Security - The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) with a capacity of million records was installed at the headquarters of NIA. This was to address the issue of data security by giving NIA visible control of the data repository and to allay any misgivings of data in the hands of the private partner. The registration kit was also designed to only allow fingerprint sign-in and to prevent the insertion of any data-capture hardware. This was to manifestly limit the role of IMS to that of a data collection entity.
Operational & Technical Strategy - This involved establishing an SPV solely for the purpose of registering foreigners on behalf of NIA. The strategy was to develop an entity with the required capacity to undertake its operational responsibilities. A completely new system without the challenges of the existing system and capable of delivering desired standards and needs of stakeholders was designed and installed at the premises of NIA. The registration kits were also designed, tested and delivered in time for the project start-off date. This was done in phases in line with the gradual build-up of demand to ensure operational efficiency. Key staff were also recruited in time to set up the necessary internal processes, systems and train operational staff prior to implementation.
Supplier Partnership – Key considerations in this relationship were timeliness of support, reputation and value for money. Given that IMS was a new entity, these considerations were critical in minimizing the risk of failure. We approached a number of potential partners and selected a partner with a proven record of global experience and brand and had experience in solving technical issues on NIA’s legacy systems. In addition, the business model of decentralized printing of cards required the selection of a partner that could deliver robust printers for fieldwork and provide timely supply of replacement parts. Overall, our partnership model was driven by the party best willing to align its commercial interest and technical strengths with our business at an affordable risk premium.
Financial Sustainability – This involved designing a project budget for implementation to be affordable and complete to pay for all the key activities required for implementation. It also looked at the revenue assumptions to ensure and assure investors and creditors of the financial sustainability of the project.
Customer Service – This was to ensure customer satisfaction with our services through simplicity, speed and convenience. In this respect, we developed a social media platform, an online presence (including webchat) where foreigners could learn more about the project and even complete their application forms online prior to coming to the registration centre. We also set up a call centre to address any concerns or questions arising. To deliver convenience, we set up mobile registration capability to register foreigners at their preferred locations thus saving them travel time and lost productivity.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Stakeholder engagement has been critical for the success project through development to implementation.
National Security and Financial Intelligence Centre provided justification for the project based on their knowledge of the threats posed by foreigners and citizens alike in the country.
Consultations were made with the key ministries responsible for non-citizens (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MoFARI), the Ghana Immigration Services (GIS) to design a project that was consistent with their strategic goals and international practice regarding migration.
Following the design of the project, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) undertook a review of the business case and recommended for approval to the PPP Approval Committee.
This committee was made up of representatives from bodies like the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Ministry of Trade, National Development Planning Commission, Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and chaired by the Minister of Finance.
The contract document was assessed by the Attorney-General’s Office leading to the approval of the partnership.
Members of Parliament were also then engaged to pass the necessary Legislative Instruments to bring into law the relevant sections of the agreement necessary to drive demand for the project.
The media also played a crucial role in providing the platform for public education and posing questions to educate the public while safeguarding public interest.
Lastly, the diplomatic community and association groups of immigrant communities were sensitized about the project and the project rationale.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
A resource plan based on the estimated target of 500,000 registrations was developed. Nevertheless, the project has been innovative in managing its cost.
The main cost components were
• Capital Cost - Technical System (including licenses)
• Operational & Human Cost
• Finance Costs
Technical Infrastructure – A total of $24.8 million was budgeted for the capital expenditure of project. This comprised of development cost, AFIS cost, 400 Mobile Registration Workstations, Software Licenses.
Financing Cost – An amount of $3 million (payable over 3 years) has been raised through a local banking partner at an interest rate 12% plus a commission on every card sold on our behalf.
Operational & Human Cost– These included the cost of consumables (including the initial 2-D bar code cards and its subsequent replacement smartcard dual interface cards) and initial amount of $500,000 for public education & stakeholder engagement. It also included set-up, mobilization and staff (including consultants) cost. Altogether, these were estimated to cost an additional $10 million.
Project financing came from 3 main sources namely:
• Debt financing – An amount of $3 million was raised as part of the local debt funding component.
• Equity – Equity providers from the shareholders of the parent companies of ICPS and IDFG totalling
• Suppliers’ credit – The project secured assets on credit from some of its suppliers for commencement
The project has focused on achieving allocative efficiency by aligning cashflow liabilities with actual revenues, and designing a draw-down plan with our suppliers that is linked to actual demand or agreed timeline – whichever came first. This has led to an immediate and affordable liability for 50 MRWs, with the outstanding 350 MRWs to be drawn down at a later date (when it would have made enough revenues) or driven by demand.
These funding provisions were to enable commencement of the project. Future project revenues would then be applied to fund subsequent initiatives.
The project has however faced a number of unbudgeted cost items particularly in relation to supporting GIS scan and digitize its database. We have also and set up a registration centre at its Headquarters to issue cards for all resident permit applicants. In addition, we are working with GIS to develop innovative solutions to improve its database and share such data with the project for the mutual benefits of the mandated institutions.
On the other hand, the project also made a number of innovative cost-savings during actual implementation through sharing the facilities and other assets of our Banking partner and Ghana Immigration Service at a cheaper cost to the project while at the same time improving the net financial position of these partners.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Output 1 - Feasibility studies
The feasibility report that underpinned the basis of the project was critical to the project. It established the need, options and the suitability of the project to be undertaken via a PPP. It developed demand model based on credible research from credible sources and established the financial viability of the project.
It allowed for the sharing of information between key parties and promoted trust between the parties. It also provided the basis for approval by the Ministry in charge of PPPs that reviewed and tested the underlying assumptions within the context of overall need of the project to the nation.
In addition, the feasibility identified key risks to the project and provided the basis of risk-sharing. The feasibility also provided the basis for securing the local component of financing from the local banking partner who brought additional rigour to the process prior to financing.
Output 2 - Stakeholder engagement - Copenhagen Agreement
Another key output was the signing of Copenhagen Agreement that was developed and signed following a study mission on PPPs in Denmark hosted by Danish Industry (DI). The signatories were a cross-section of the key political parties and stakeholders that had direct interaction with foreigners in Ghana. This secured their commitment to the project and support for the process.
Output 3 - Contract
The actual PPP Contract has been vital for the success of the project. It was designed to avoid the pitfall of traditional procurement contracts while ensuring delivery of a technical system to meet international standards and industry while ensuring a whole life asset approach through a 5-year replacement cycle. This replacement cycle also allows for flexibility in the contract to preserve value-for-money objectives.
Output 4 - Legislative Instruments
The development and passage of a Legislative Instruments that specifies the mandatory transactions that require a card and associated fees (pre-determined by business case) has stabilized the pricing model that has been petitioned for reductions by different interest groups
Output 5 – Instantly Issued Cards
This output of instantly issued card has provided assurance to NIA that the technical solution was economic and efficient. This decentralized form of card issuance following real-time de-duplication is now the trigger for the ongoing negotiation to expand the scope of the project to cover all nationals to enable NIA fully deliver its mandate.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Monitoring and Evaluation under the project has been designed to improve performance management. Information captured from monitoring activities are designed to confirm our priorities; check progress, communicate progress and to compel progress.
We have therefore developed systems and processes to support our M&E activities in a cost-effective and timely manner.
Firstly, the project has developed key measures – most of which are captured in the Service Level Agreement to give it a contractual bite. Some of the performance indicators include fault resolution period, system capacity (speed & size), renewal compliance rate, stakeholder enforcement, staff performance and delivery of technical standards.
A key system is our Oracle SQL data base that allows the real-time monitoring of registration and sales performance. This information is shared daily and promotes transparency caused by performance communication. It allows the stakeholders to follow trends in registration statistics and the socio-economic status of applicants including countries of origin. For example, a revealing statistic shows that there are 184 nationalities living in Ghana – something that was previously unknown. Real time monitoring also allows the project to react to any risk in quick time.
In addition, the project undertakes daily Site Reports to monitor all registration sites to compel and communicate performance. These daily reports address other issues relating to staff and asset performance, operational challenges. Statistics such as faults, operator errors, attendance, customer incidents are captured in this report for decision-making at the appropriate management levels. For the lower level staff, this report also confirms the priorities of the project and minimizes deviant behaviours.
We also track customer experiences from the point of registration and use of cards. In this respect, we have a customer questionnaire to be completed by customers on completion of their registration detailing their experiences and source of information regarding the project. This monitors the effectiveness of our communication strategy and media habits of applicants. In addition, we have a customer service call center where challenges faced by foreigners in the use of their cards are reported and followed up by our Enforcement team.
An end of year evaluation report on the performance of the project based on the findings from our monitoring is submitted to key stakeholders for appraisal and strategy development by key decision makers including government ministers.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main challenge has been the lack of a PPP law (despite a policy document) to empower public entities to discharge their obligations under the partnership. Public institutions are governed by procurement and financial administration laws that limits their flexibility to match the pace of private partners. This slows the implementation of key activities and undermines private sector efficiencies. One innovative way overcoming this challenge is to include the cost of PPP obligations and expected revenues to be generated under the normal budgetary approval application.
Another major challenge has been the lack of multi-sectoral enforcement due to organizational rivalry and confusion. In this respect, despite the numbers of foreigners living in Ghana, the demand has been lower than expected due to non-enforcement and the acceptance of other forms of identification.
We have engaged with key stakeholders particularly Bank of Ghana and Ghana Immigration Service. The banks have since issued a directive to accept the card with the view of making it the only recognized card for banking identification. We also undertook a special digitization project in Ghana Immigration Service and uncovered a number of lapses in the data collection process leading to the use of the non-citizens’ cards as the only card for the issuance of resident permits.
The project faced resistance from a section of NIA staff whose concerns ranged from alleged lack of consultation, job security and lack of trust.
We organized staff durbars to enhance staff ownership of the project. We assured NIA staff of job security; showed the reputational benefits; trained key NIA personnel on the technical system and reduced mistrust through informing them on the robust process leading to the partnership. Consultation has been also expanded to include a wider section of NIA staff for input.