... For A Better GhanaWithin the last few months there have been two important announcements from Ghana
The cost of government should be a concern for any society. People pay taxes and duties in Ghana to support the government we have voluntarily created. Governments are not created by God or Allah, but by man, you and I. In Ghana, whether we live there or just travel there for vacation, these taxes and duties we pay include port duties (15% to 45%), VAT (12.5%), NHIL (2.5%), Ecowas taxes (0.5%), and port duties, as well as Property taxes on our houses, all in order to support a government.
A recent budget announcement indicated that the government was short by some $500 Million, and hence was looking for loans to supplement the budget from outside. We have not heard of any reduction in the size and expenses on government. This situation may not make sense to many. The situation may be analogous to a family which has chosen to live in some of the highest rent districts in Sana Barbara, Montecito or Los Altos, California, or the highest rent districts in London, New York, Sydney or Toronto, with huge mortgage payments, have their private cars, SUVs, send their kids to private schools, own private Jet planes, and every year asking others to loan them money so they can continue their lifestyle. I hope none of our readers are too young to think that anybody can live above their means for ever and let others keep giving them loans or subsidizing them.
The Kufuor administration has been criticized for having an over-bloated government Ministers. As a mark of conciliation, perhaps the only one, when President Kufuor was criticized for increasing the number in his Cabinets and Ministers, he made statement close to an apology for criticizing the former President.
How we can make our government more effective by cutting government costs. As of now the excessive costs of government includes:
Excessive costs in renovating houses of elected and appointed officials, from Ministers, deputies, cabinet and no-cabinets officers and advisers, as well as standard civil service Chief Executives, Deputy Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, and many middle management and lower management personnel who are entitled to such benefits as car allowance, petrol allowance, housing allowance, and in some cases drivers, personal security, garden boys as well as the per diem allowance they in addition to their normal pay and travel expenses when they travel. I recall some years ago when I was traveling to Ghana and asked a former Minister friend what I should buy for him fro the US. He replied ?Kwaku, you know I travel a lot, so I don?t really need anything?. Costs and government benefits and privileges such as buying vehicles and taking them as part of the end of term gratuity.
Please note from the GhanaWeb summary here, that the government executives seem to have been carefully subdivided to fit the legal and constitutional definitions.
The Ministers are now (1) Cabinet, (2) Non-Cabinet, (3) Ministers of State and (4) Others. All of these have a very strong and considerable amount of power and influence in the society and hence massive amount of state resources of offices, staff, vehicles, bungalows spent on them.
Example, one notices that the National Security Advisor is in the category of ?Others?. Can we say that these ?Others? are any less important and hence consume less electricity, will not be supplied with cell phones, housing, etc? The Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD occupies the offices of Nkrumah?s Flagstaff House. Can he be considered any less important as a Minister?