October 10, 2013

The Vice-President of IMANI Ghana has blamed financial imprudence on the part of government for the sharp rise in Ghana’s debt, which currently stands at GH₵43.9 billion (49.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Speaking Wednesday on Accra-based Joy FM, Mr Kofi Bentil said a large chunk of Ghana’s revenue was being spent on governance and on paying public servants to the detriment of core needs like education, health, water, energy, transportation and telecommunication.

According to him, Ghana’s “heavy government” is draining the country’s national resources. He said Parliament, for instance, has 275 members whose job is to create laws. “We have an expensive parliament of 275 people who are supposed to make laws. You don’t need more than 50 people to make laws [in this country],” he said.

Mr Bentil said Parliament had also failed woefully in its other function of scrutinising the activities of the Executive, especially in relation to how government money is spent.

“The Executive has found a way to get them [Parliament] to play ball,” he added. The IMANI Vice-President also called for a drastic reduction in the number of public servants, as part of efforts to reduce government waste.

He said 70 per cent of national revenue was being spent on paying 500,000 public servants, who he said were among “the least productive groups of people in the country”.Mr Bentil said the total productivity of the civil service was about 10 to 30 per cent of what it must be.

“The average civil/public servant works effectively about one day. You can get rid of half the civil service and productivity will not fall,” he added.

Ghana’s high debt has led to economic challenges within the country, with the government admitting to liquidity challenges. The World Bank has already cautioned Ghana against the debt, which it says has the tendency to stifle the country’s economic growth and deepen poverty.

The country’s development partners (DPs) have also served notice of their intention to ask what they described as “hard questions” on how the government raised and spent revenue in the just ended fiscal year.

Such questions, they said, would be based on the evidence available to them.

Source: Daily Graphic