The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana-Legon has warned that the Akufo Addo government’s revenue position and its posture is gradually killing off some of its major policies
Some of the policies being run inefficiently according to ISSER include: the Free SHS, Nation Builders Corps (NABCO), Planting for Food and Jobs, etc.
Speaking at ISSER’s launch of the 2018 State of the Ghanaian Economy and the 2019 Mid-Year Review in Accra this week, Dr. Charles Ackah, a Senior Research Fellow at ISSER warned that the government needs to take a hard look at some of its expenditures in the face of a domestic revenue shortfall.
While the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) and the other major policies have proven to be popular, Dr. Ackah believes that the government’s revenue position cannot sustain all these initiatives in the manner in which they are being implemented.
“We are asking the government to look at efficiency on the expenditure side and prioritize efficiency…If you don’t have enough resources, shouldn’t we begin to discuss the Free SHS program and look at whether it should be free for everybody or whether we should go and do proper targeting and support the poorest households?” Dr. Ackah observed.
The ISSER scholar also jabbed the Akufo Addo government for some of the redundant Ministries it was blowing scarce resources on. “Shouldn’t we begin to discuss some of the Ministries we have and see whether we still need them? For instance the Ministry for Inner City and Zongo Development, what are they doing and what value are we getting for the resources? Can those issues be tackled by the MMDAs without necessarily having a Ministry? The kind of expenditure they are making there, are they growth-enhancing?” the ISSER Senior Research Fellow asked.
Dr. Ackah who is also Director at the Center for Social Policy Studies at the University of Ghana said Ghana’s economy, projected to grow at 6 per cent, is on the decline from a high of 8.1 per cent in 2017.
Last year, the economy could only grow at 6 per cent. With the government missing its first-half revenue target by GHS5 billion, Dr. Ackah stated that it is time to reprioritize its spending as more borrowing could lead to more interest payments.
This year alone, the government is projecting to pay as much as GHS19 billion in interest payments on its insatiable appetite for debt.
Already, the fears expressed by ISSER had been escalating in the past few months with NABCO recruits and other youth groups in agriculture protesting persistently against the non-payment of their allowances as promised by the government.On its flagship educational policy, the government has been dogged by difficulties in absorbing prospective students into the countries choked SHSs, resulting in a near stampede a few weeks ago when fresh students were scheduled for entry into SHSs this semester.