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RE: Ghana's President slashes executive freebies

RE: Ghana's President slashes executive freebies

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

Resizing Ghana's Public Sector :

Editorial on: Ghana's President slashes executive freebies

We share this editorial due to its relevance and bold move by the current

President John Mahama.

Ghana's President's John Mahama's announced policy to reduce executive

spending is most laudable and welcome news. It takes a tough man to do this

kind of self-examination and we are glad President Mahama plans to take this

bold step. However it should not stop at the executive. We believe that the

whole government machinery needs to be trimmed down at least by 50%.

No matter what happens at the end of the Supreme Court verdict, current

President Mahama would have left a mark with some of his recent decisions,

if the nuts and bolts of implementation are put in place. There is a popular

saying that man only lives once. Whether this is true or not, the saying

depicts the urgency of time in life to do the best we can, since nobody can

predict the future. For a nation to reach a point where almost 60% of their

employees work for government, and yet Government-owned enterprises have all

failed and closed down, while others are sold for dirt cheap, and public

service delivery is very poor, is a shame for Ghana!

Ghana has lost all the investment our first government after independence

put in factories to produce the very items we consume. Ghana was producing

sugar, salt, flour, soap, cutlasses, matches, plastics, metal, building

materials, electronics and pharmaceuticals. What kind of people are we if we

cannot even produce what we eat and allow factories already paid for to go

belly up! Our shipping lines, airlines, public buses were all mismanaged!

And yet Ghana has some well educated people around the world as well as some

savvy businessmen and women able to survive and compete globally. Our

telephone company was managed by the Malaysians, then the Norwegians, and

now finally sold to Vodafone for $900 million. Can anybody say Vodafone has

done better except make good profit for themselves, and mostly in the

cellular phone business! Internet connectivity is sold at three times the

price consumers pay in say the USA and yet about a tenth the download and

upload speed and very unreliable!

One cannot blame Vodafone. Due to corruption and abuse of power by

executives, no Ghana state enterprise was allowed to run without

interference. Singapore run state-owned enterprises for years, and still

have a state airline that is one of the most efficient airlines. Obviously

there is nothing wrong with Ghana, as others can do well. What then is wrong

with Ghanaians, especially when they get to public office? Are we that

devoid of love for nation or we still think government is an external entity

as our uncles thought in the colonial days? For God's sake, can we make it

mandatory that our MPs and elected officials make have town-hall meetings

with their constituents every quarter so that hopefully our people will

realize the essence of government and share their feelings and pain with

their elected officials.

It is hoped that the current President will confront the reality and cut out

the fake reports provided by some segments of the public sector, and fire

some people who are not performing! No organization survives without

discipline and Ghana needs discipline. The public sector could do better

with half the employees it has now. Government belly is simply too fat!

This is not just the executive but the Judiciary that is so slow and

non-performing, and the legislators who seem to have no agenda to accomplish

laws and policies within any time frame.

One effective organizational management structure is the "profit center"

method. Ghana can perform better if we allow every department to become like

a profit unit. In other words let say the Ministry of Agriculture justify

what new food products they are coming out for the private sector to buy

into and market globally. A call to the Crop Research Institute last week

showed that they only conduct research on local products like Mangoes and

oranges. There is no research on any of the high priced fruits and

vegetables such as apples, blueberries, blackberries, plums, peaches,

grapes, brocolli, cauliflower, cabbages, tomatoes, and a myriad of crops

that can be sold locally and globally to help Ghana's GDP. Let the CSIR, CRI

and the Ministry justify their existence or cut employees back as much as

possible! This applies to all Ministries. Let the Ministry of Roads and

Highways for example justify how many kilometers of road they have

constructed in the year, how much tolls they have collected, and how much

they have paid their employees compared to their output. If they cannot

balance and justify it publicly with numbers, it means they are


Nobody should be expected to work overseas and bring a car home to pay

45-200% duties and taxes to support anybody in Ghana. And in Ghana nobody is

expected to work and pay taxes to support non-performing public sector

employees. Some of these at the Ministries don't even feel they owe the

public any explanation. During this water and electricity crisis in the last

ten years, one would have expected the Managing Directors of these companies

to face the public and explain their plans; but instead they send

sweet-talking PR men and women who may not know much except talk.

We wish the President all the best and simply suggest that he makes hay

whiles the sun shines, as the British say. Let him put in place all policies

he had envisioned, and let the ball roll!! Let the chips fall where they

will fall!

Kwaku A. Danso, M.Eng., PhD (Organization & Management/Leadership)

Livermore, California, USA & East Legon-Accra, Ghana

Tel. 925-292-8042 (USA PST)

President - Ghana Leadership Union (NGO), Moderator-GLU and GLF Forums.

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.