Downsize your gov’t – Adei to Akufo-Addo

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A former Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Professor Stephen Adei has told President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reduce the size of his government as part of moves to deal with the economic challenges.

He told journalists on the sidelines of a special convocation to confer honorary doctorate degrees on four eminent Ghanaians at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) on Wednesday March 23 that “Two weeks ago, I said that the executive, parliament should cut their emoluments by 25 per cent. Let us get it right, even if they do , it is a small amount, it is not going to save us from this situation but it is a leadership example.

“You are sending the message to the people that we are in difficulty, people are suffering and we want to suffer with you. So that hopefully, in a year or a year and a half, we will all come out

“So don’t let anybody think that when they cut these salaries then the problem is solved all together because we are talking about half a billion when we need billions.”

He further said “I expect [the President] to find ways of cutting expenditure, increase revenue, cutting off the size in the government,

“I think that even though all of you don’t like it, I think that we should go for the E-levy, it is a tax which we need now to save Ghana from its current situation. The reason is that there are very limited avenue in the short-term to raise revenue. If you and I don’t support the government at this stage we will pay it through the other way – falling Cedi, rising inflation. So people don’t realize when they say they wont pay the E-levy, you will end up paying.

A Former United Nations Senior Advisor, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, also told the President to go a step further to make the sacrifices to deal with the challenges visible to Ghanaians after commending and the Council of State members for reducing salaries of government appointees and also members of the Council respectively.

He said, the President can reduce the size of his government which in his view, is too large, as a way of demonstrating to Ghanaians that realistic measures are being taken to tackle the economic challenges.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reduced the salaries of all his appointees by up to 30 percent.

This is one of the measures introduced by the government to deal with the economic problems facing the country at the moment, the Presidency said.

The President assured the nation that the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta will be announcing the measures that have been taken by the government to tackle the economic challenges facing the country at the moment.

Mr Akufo-Addo said this during a meeting with Council of State members at the Jubilee House in Accra on Tuesday March 22.

He said “The Minister for Finance is going to have major engagement with the nation on Thursday where he is going to be in the position to lay out specifically the measures that we have taken or we intend to take to correct or put the ship of sail better.”

Mr Akufo-Addo further observed that the challenges that are facing Ghana are similar to those pertaining in many countries around the world.

He noted that it is no secret that Ghana is going through economic turbulence.

He said the government has the ability of finding solutions to the challenges.

“It is no secret that our economy is going through difficult times. It is also no secret that we are not alone in that exercise. The many of the phenomena that we are facing are phenomena that are apparent in many other parts of the world but that doesn’t therefore mean that government is impotent in trying to find solutions,” the President said.

Members of the Council of State have also decided to reduce their monthly allowances by 20 per cent until the end of the year.

This decision was taken due the economic difficulties that the country is facing at the moment, Chairman of the Council, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, said.

Speaking during a meeting with the President at the Jubilee House in Accra on Tuesday March 22, Nana Otuo Siriboe II said “Mr President, over the past few weeks, the Council has been deliberating on the current economic conditions of the country and have been collecting views with the view to sharing with you as early as possible.

“As we were going through our routines, you and your cabinet were at a retreat over the same issues. Since yesterday, we have been fed with snippet of information regarding some of the decisions that you have made.

“We are particularly delighted to read that you and your cabinet have decided to reduce some of your emoluments and your allowances. Mr President, in tandem with your decision we as Council of State had also decided that we will reduce our monthly allowances by 20 per cent until the end of this year.”

Reacting to this development in interview with TV3’s Komla Adom on the mid day news on Wednesday March 23, Prof Agyemang-Duah who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the John Agyekum Kuffuor Foundation said “I think it is exemplary of the Council of state. As the chairman said, their decision follows that of government to reduce allowances of government appointees. So on the two fronts; we are beginning to see some visible changes towards the crisis we have but this is just the beginning.

“Regarding the government’s own decision to reduce salaries of the appointees, I think that is also is good, I hear it is about 30 per cent. But salary reductions are part of what I will call the invisibles because people don’t see, all they know is that salaries have been reduced. So probably, the government can go another step to do more visible illustrations of this new resolve to contain the exploding expenditure of government.

“What do I mean by this? First of all, the size of government itself, as many people have said, is too much and I think if the government were to look critically at overhauling the whole structure of governance it will reduce tremendously the amount that we spend on it. Because if you look at some of the ministries and agencies of government, certainly many of them can merge, some of them can be reduced to low levels.

“I think, first, we can commend the government, we should commend the Council of State but I think they need to take further steps to really dramatize to the public that we are in a crisis mood that we need to undertake austerity measures.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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