General News of Sun, 22 Oct 201729
Corruption threatens government’s ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda
Economist, Dr. Ebo Turkson has underscored the need to exhaustively deal with corruption if government should be successful with its vision of creating a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.
Dr. Turkson who largely agrees with the need to build a society which is less dependent on other foreign support however fears the objective may not be reached if corruption is not adequately highlighted and eradicated.
The NPP administration is targeting to position Ghana to be able to fund majority of her needs from domestic revenue sources and not rely on foreign support.
This has also been reiterated by President Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at various fora.
In their views, the interventions being embarked on to grow the private sector should help in achieving the aim.
But the Economist is skeptical of this should issues of corruption go unresolved.
Dr. Turkson believes corrupt practices usually associated with bureaucratic processes in the public sector have made it difficult to attract investments and grow the private sector to propel economic growth as planned. He made the remarks at a forum on, ‘Ghana beyond Aid, lessons from the private sector’.
“If we fight corruption, we can do a lot of public sector savings because a huge amount of public sector resources get fizzled out due to corruption. If we are able to fight corruption, these are huge amounts of monies that we can save and that would be an alternative to aid and those monies can be channeled into other productive sectors.”
Dr. Turkson’s comments come at a time that foreign aid to developing economies like Ghana is declining.
For instance, total grants and aid amounted to 1.9 billion dollars as at 2015. It is also at this time that Ghana’s middle income status has excluded her from benefitting from any funding support to lower middle income countries and those below.
Citing the Tema port expansion project, Dr. Turkson was of the view that the cost incurred in securing donor support could have been saved had the country commenced some interventions probably a bit earlier.
“For instance, we are being told that almost 500 million cedis is saved at the ports and the Tema port expansion cost us 1.5 billion dollars so in three years we would have been able to save money to expand our ports without looking up to our donor partners for such support. So there is a lot of wastage in our system that we should try and block,” he added.
Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia however outlined some policy initiatives such as the implementation of the fiscal policy regulations to control unplanned expenditure and reduce wastage. The forum organized under the auspices of the Netherlands Embassy, Norwegian Embassy and the Denmark Embassy in partnership with the GIPC, brought together representatives from the international business community, private sector leaders, the public among others to deliberate on positioning Ghana to an enviable level among her peers.