The presidency has been encouraged by former president John Dramani Mahama to take the initiative in the current economic crisis and reduce the budget for the Office of the President.
He said that it was unacceptable that, despite the economic crisis, the Office of Government Machinery’s budget had grown dramatically over the previous six years, from just over GH700 million to GH3.1 billion in 2022.
To be effective, expenditure rationalization must begin at the president’s office.
By reducing the budget for the Office of Government Machinery, significant savings of at least GH 1 billion can be achieved, he claimed.
This was said by the former president when he suggested certain cost-cutting measures during a speech on the condition of the economy on Thursday with the title “Building the Ghana We Want.”
According to him, the size of the government, which consists of a sizable number of ministers and deputies as well as more than a hundred political appointees at the presidency and other individuals linked to ministers and State agencies, needs to be reduced.
“This will reflect the necessities of the time and the need for modesty and prudence,” he added.
According to Mr. Mahama, the establishment of a number of overlapping agencies and secretariats was not necessary to increase public spending.
In order to assure savings for the public coffers, he noted that too many agencies had been established “overnight without any functional purpose.” These organizations needed to be eliminated or combined for efficiency.
He suggested merging several organizations under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, including the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, National Employment Agency, MASLOC, Ghana Enterprises Agency, and many others.
In addition, he demanded that the Special Development Initiative Secretariat, One District, One Factory Secretariat, Free SHS Secretariat, and the associated Development Authorities be abolished so that the Ghana Education Service, the Industrial Development Unit of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies, can take over the aforementioned organizations’ respective duties.
For public financial management, Mr. Mahama called for stronger rules and regulations that must be strictly upheld in order to reduce the waste and corruption that the Auditor General documents on an annual basis.
He continued, “A harsher sanctions system needs be implemented to stop the hemorrhage of approximately GH 17 billion annually.
The former president also demanded that “all non-essential” projects be put on hold, including the 116 million euro Accra International Conference Centre and the development of new embassy structures for foreign missions.
He also demanded the cancellation of plans to build constituency offices for MPs, a halt to the use of public funds to construct the national cathedral, and a potential withdrawal from hosting the All Africa Games.