Vice President of Policy Think Tank, IMANI Africa, Mr Kofi Bentil, has advised policymakers to desist from spending taxpayers’ money on needles investments that do not bare any meaningful fruits for country.
He said politicians most often like to engage in what he described as “silly stuff” just for the purposes of political expedience.
Owing to this, he said there is the need for the country to start making economic sense of every investment that it engages in to bring relieves to its people.
“We should start from not doing the things which are clearly not going to yield the necessary results, but again, it comes from a certain amount of pressure from the public so that the politicians step back even if that thing may be politically expedient”, he said.
Citing the Komenda Sugar Factory as an example, Mr Bentil said if the Government, at the time, had listened to his outfit following a report they issued on the visibility of that investment they would not have wasted the country’s resources on the establish something that would later turn out to be a white elephant,
“We did the due diligence free of charge and published it but our Government refused to listen to it and went ahead to spend US$36 million facility which has not yield anything”, he explained.
He said this at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast meeting held in Accra on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
Komenda Sugar Factory
The Komenda Sugar Factory was revamped in 2016 by the erstwhile administration at an estimated cost of US$36 million loan procured through an Indian Exim Bank.
More importantly, the factory was projected to create over 7,300 jobs to the people living in and around the catchment area of the facility.
But three years down the line, the factory is yet to begin production.
To salvage the situation, the Government of the day, recently put up the factory on sale and a bid evaluation had since been completed.
Subsequently, an Indian Company, Park Agrotech Ghana Limited, was announced as the strategic partner to take over the management of the facility from now till 2023.
The Indian firm is expected to pomp in some US$28 million within the period.
Size of Government and commensurate outcomes
Additionally, on the issue of the size of Government, Mr Bentil that there are too many appointed and elected state officials who are over burdening the country’s resources.
“I hold the view that we don’t need more than 50 ministers and 10 ministries. It is about what you do and not about building all those things around them to make the happy”, he added.
This and many other examples formed the basis for Mr Bentil’s assertion.
Again, he said that they key thing that the country should spend it resources on was the national identification because it has everything that they country needs to move forward
Meanwhile, a Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dr Albert Touna-Mama, answering a question on whether it was needles to create bureaucracies for the excursion of every Government policy, said although it poses a challenge, he however believes the end will justice the means.
“I think that in certain line of business, you’ll probably need some experts, but when you have a system where compensations eat up more than 70 per cent of your revenue you’ll like to think that you need to find ways within the current envelop to achieve the objective”, he said
Additionally, he added that irrespective of this, every policy initiative needs to be results driven and accounted to the people to be able to determine where it outcome justified the creation of the administrative vehicle.