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Its time for a lean govt – OccupyGhana tells Akufo-Addo

OccuppyGhana, a pressure group, is urging President Nana Akufo-Addo to lead “a lean and mean government” in order to alleviate the nation’s current economic woes.

The group claimed in a news release on Tuesday that the difficult circumstances Ghanaians are facing are sufficient proof that “there is no better moment than now to shrink the size of government.

‘Times are tough. The going is tough. really challenging The squeeze and suffering are felt by every Ghanaian. Citizens must make sacrifices in order to survive, including giving up some necessities. OccupyGhana stated that the government, which is primarily to responsible for the economic catastrophe, must make further cuts.

The group’s statement is provided below:

Accra, 25 October 2022

MR PRESIDENT, IT IS TIME FOR A ‘LEAN AND MEAN’ GOVERNMENT

There is no time better than now, to reduce the size of the Government.

Times are hard. Things are hard. Very hard. Every Ghanaian is feeling the pinch and pain. To survive, citizens are forced to cut back on some essential things in life. The Government, which is largely to blame for the economic mess, must also cut back and more.

When in early 2017, the sheer size of the Government was revealed, we were not convinced that that was what Ghana required. In our press statement dated 17 March 2022, we criticised the President for that, stating that while ‘a government bureaucracy must be big enough to achieve the aims of the government,’ it must be ‘lean enough not to waste the resources of the state.’ We also pointed out that the ‘considerable amount of money in salaries, allowances and benefits… (in addition to enjoying a range of ex-gratia benefits when they leave office) does not sound to us like a diligent attempt to protect the public purse.’

However, in one of several responses to this criticism and others like ours, the President said to some new ministers that ‘as you know there are some who say my government is too big and there are too many of you. I am a firm believer in the adage the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ Another time, the President called the size of his Government a ‘necessary investment’ and assured Ghanaians that ‘it is not going to be a holiday’ for the ministers.

Time has tested both ‘the investment’ and ‘the pudding,’ and they have not aged well and have been found wanting. The combined return, two years to the end of the President’s second term, is this debilitating economic crisis. Unless the President’s new and unacceptable argument would be that we would be in a much worse situation but for his still large coterie of ministers, it is time to get ‘lean and mean’. If as citizens, we are compelled to cut down on our private expenses, then it is time for the Government to do the same to protect the public purse.

This is therefore a demand for an immediate and drastic reduction in size, not limited to ministers alone, but all of the President’s non-ministerial appointees. If for nothing at all, the symbolism in the Government also taking a hit, just like the rest of us, is very strong.

These are not normal times and ‘business as usual’ won’t cut it. The excuses for having and paying a large batch of ministers and other appointees to produce the results we see now, to the extent that they have ever been justified (which we deny), wear perilously thin in these times.

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