When a government appeals to the people to share the burden, admonishes workers not to expect significant wage increases, seeks to impose numerous taxes during this period of considerable economic hardship – that government must be seen to be leading by example so that the people it leads may give them a listening ear.
As I noted in Parliament during the debate on the 2021 Budget Statement, the Akufo-Addo Administration continues to engage in profligate expenditure while asking the people to tighten their belts.
Consider the evidence below:
1) The compensation (salaries) of staff at the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) has seen a quantum leap from GHS136,212,551 in 2020 to a colossal GHS823,880,668 (see page 242 of 2021 budget). This represents a staggering addition of GHS687,668,117 in just one year;
2) The Goods and Services allocation of the OGM has been increased from GHS356,787,229 in 2020 to 501,708,024 in 2021 (see page 227). An impressive addition of GHS144,920,795;
3) Government is also requesting Parliament to approve a Contingency Vote of a whopping GHS186,829,891 (see page 226). It is instructive to note that President Mahama’s Contingency Vote in 2016 was only GHS67,025,646;
4) Government is yet to explain to us exactly what it intends to do with the astonishing GHS500million it has set aside for so-called “Other Critical Spending” (see page 226);
5) I reiterate that the GHS4million being sought for government communications (a beautiful euphemism for government propaganda) which it describes as a flagship programme at page 241 of the Budget is absolutely needless.
These five items listed above amount to a mind-boggling GHS1.52billion.
This is a government that has carried out substantial cuts in the allocations for the Judiciary, NCCE (Goods & Services), Free SHS, MASLOC, NABCO, and many others yet refuses to control its appetite for big spending on its creature comforts. It is therefore not surprising that many Ghanaians including organized labour refuse to be convinced by its draconian revenue measures.
Let’s be clear, government must cut its humongous expenditure instead of imposing taxes on the suffering masses.