By Fauzeeya Jamal-Deen

The Directorate of Research, Innovations and Development (DRID) of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) is set to organize a public lecture on government’s communications on the controversial electronic transaction levy policy (E-levy).

The event themed ‘Civic Engagement and communicating public policy: lessons from E-levy’ comes off on April 8, 2022, at the GIJ Dzorwulu campus. It seeks to assess and critically analyze government’s communication strategies on the proposed tax regime, the lessons learned and the way forward.

The E-levy policy, since it was submitted to parliament in November 2021, has generated numerous concerns among the public. This led to an initiative by government to hold town hall meetings in various regions across the country aimed at educating and engaging citizens on the need to adopt the policy and its benefit to Ghana’s economy.

The public lecture is expected to host President of the African University College of Communication (AUCC), Professor Isaac Abeku Blankson as the guest speaker.

Professor Blankson in a pre-lecture interview said the lecture is going to be ‘an insightful discussion on the role and importance of timely and purposeful communication with relevant stakeholders in policy making’. He added that the public lecture is a ‘non political, non partisan but an academic lecture that takes a critical look at challenges policy makers face in enacting policies that are not well understood by the citizenry i.e. misinformation and disinformation etc.’

Meanwhile, Director of the Institute’s Research Directorate, Dr. Este Sikanku said ‘the public lecture is going to provide an opportunity for Professor Blankson to assess how the government is handling the new policy and how citizens have been engaged. This will help unearth lessons and opportunities moving forward.’

He added that communication is crucial in educating people on a new policy and determining the overall success of any government initiative. Hence, this lecture is going to impact knowledge on the role of communication in public policy and evaluate its success.

The public lecture organized by GIJ’s DRID will be attended academics, policy makers, civil society, and participants from all walks of life who are interested in joining the discussion on how government can use communications in policy making.