George Smith Patton Jr, one of the most decorated United States army generals who served his country during the Second World War once said,
?The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That?s the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!?

We have come a long way after becoming a republic on the 1st July 1960 as a nation among the league of sovereign states. It is vital that any issue, especially one that concerns the finances of the state of the nation, is accorded the necessary attention by politicians to address the concerns of the general public and advocates of good governance. Hence those who have volunteered to serve the people of Ghana and responsible for political leadership, must not forget their stewardship and oath of service as enacted in the 4th Republic Constitution of Ghana which is in recognition to the article 1(1) of the constitution:
?The Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in this Constitution.?

Our country is going through serious financial challenges bordering crisis point. The president, John Mahama, found the need to allude, and even more so, to acknowledge that simple fact that there is no money in the country?s coffers. This simply statement means, Ghana is broke!

Serious governments around the world, in both the developed and developing blocks, are taking radical and drastic but necessary measures to cut down government spending. This is intended to reduce government expenditure and ultimately budget deficits. In Ghana, the biggest challenge of government is the prevailing situation whereby government spends about 70% of internally generated revenue to take care of the huge wage bills of government employers in the region of between, 600,000 to 800,000. Government is the higher employer of Ghana?s economy. For all the right economic reasons, this figure needs to be halved progressively in the next 5-10 years.

In addition to this, the Flagstaff House needs to show a practical commitment to lead by example by instituting an immediate wage cut of 20% and 25% of all politicians/political appointees/MPs and the president/vice president respectively. Furthermore, foreign trips must be reduced to a minimum.

Most crucially, the office of the regional ministers should be abolished. As drastic as it may sound, the duties of the regional ministers can be shouldered by the district assemblies. This will help government to get serious with decentralization, to take the next bold step towards democratically electing DCEs to share the responsibilities of regional ministers. This will significantly cut down government budgetary allocations and wage bill on regional ministers. As things stood now, the office of the regional ministers will not be missed by anyone if they were scrapped and will save the taxpayer a lot of extra cash towards priority projects in healthcare and education for instance. The outfit has just been another drain on the taxpayer by government to pacify party loyalists to enjoy all the generous benefits that come with the appointment of ministers and their deputies as regional ministers. The Flagstaff House needs to follow these simple but effective steps to reduce the government wage bill to 50% of the present 70%; because Ghana is becoming a nation that virtually collects taxes to pay politicians to live close to royalties; and this is not sustainable!

Another area that will do with a logical and reasonable reduction in size is the number of ministries government runs. Most of the ministries are under-performing because their responsibilities have far too many similarities, at least, with another ministry than clearly defined from each other. For instance, what is the wisdom in having separate ministries for ?TRANSPORT? and ?ROADS&HIGHWAYS? in Ghana at this moment of our development? Even a developed country like the UK has only a Department of Transport headed by a Secretary for Transport in-charge of all roads, rail networks, aviation and everything associated with these modes of transportation.

Presently we have 24 ministries:

01/ Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development

02/ Ministry Of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development

03/ Ministry for the Interior

04/ Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration

05/ Ministry Of Defence

06/ Ministry of Water Resources, Works & Housing

07/ Ministry of Transport

08/ Ministry of Trade and Industry

09/ Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts

10/ Ministry of Roads and Highways

11/ Ministry Of Youth and Sports

12/ Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources

13/ Ministry of Justice & Attorney General

14/ Ministry of Information and Media Relations

15/ Ministry of Health

16/ Ministry of Gender, Children and social protection

17/ Ministry of Food & Agriculture

18/ Ministry of Finance

19/ Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation

20/ Ministry of Energy and Petroleum

21/ Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations

22/ Ministry of Education

23/ Ministry of Communications

24/ Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs

If I were the president, I would reduce this by 25% to have 18 ministries instead of the present 24 ministries to come to a smaller size like this:

Ministries:

01/ Ministries of Rural & Urban Development

02/ Ministry of Interior and Defence

03/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration

04/ Ministry of Housing, Water & Energy Supplies

05/ Ministry of Transport & Roads and Highways

06/ Ministry of Employment Creation & Industries

07/ Ministry of Tourism & Sports

08/ Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources & Environment

09/ Ministry of Justice ? (Attorney General Office made independent)

10/ Ministry of Information & Media Relations

11/ Ministry of Health

12/ Ministry of Social Welfare & Protection

13/ Ministry of Food, Fisheries & Agriculture

14/ Ministry of Finance

15/ Ministry of, Science & Communication Technologies

16/ Ministry of Mines & Petroleum

17/ Ministry of Education & Innovation

18/ Ministry of Chieftaincy & Cultural Affairs

It is time we all acknowledge that government is spending too much increasingly from 2000. Total government spending alone on public & civil servants as a share of GDP has increased tremendously over the last 2 decades. As government spending has gone through the roofs, government debt has hit the ceiling. Gross public debt in particular monies that government owes itself as IOU from special funds meant for specific purpose have shapely increased. Debt to GDP ratio must receive all the attention needed by government economic planners to reduce and not climb over 100%.

In the final analysis, we cannot keep spending money we do not have, we cannot keep spending more than we are making and we cannot keep be spending more and more on expenditure which do not re-generate revenue. If government really ?cared? for the country and inclined to create ?a better Ghana?, there were simple steps that required no knowledge of ?rocket science? which any government with the political will won?t hesitate to take. Sometimes even in our personal lives, ?desperate? times call for measures that might not be too popular to observers.

This is the time that the president must muster exceptional transformational leadership character to inspire the nation to rally along with him knowing that ?people will rise to meet seemingly insurmountable obstacles and challenges if they understand the worthiness of the personal sacrifices and effort. Supporting that understanding must be mentors who provide leadership; without both ingredients, a cause will go unrealized and a mission is likely to fail.? ? Glenn R. Jones

In my conclusion, I will appeal to the conscience of President John Mahama with a simple encouraging pep talk, which happens to be a quote from Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys Coach; as he is the executive president of our dear motherland, who has reminded us the owners of ?the team? that he is still in-charge as ?the coach? of the team:
?Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great??

God bless our President with the wisdom and courage to act now!
God bless Mother God.

YK Amakye Ansah-Yeboah

Founding President CPAG
Common Purpose Alliance Ghana.
[email protected]
[email protected]

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