Source: Ghana I RadioXYZonline.com I Patrick Ayumu
Ghana’s President has declared war on ghost workers in the civil and public sectors. A huge chunk of the country’s taxpayers’ money is siphoned through ghost payments in the two sectors.
“In the next few weeks, we will initiate a massive payroll audit with the view to eliminating the pervasive ghost names and ensuring that these ghosts die a permanent death and resurrect no more,” John Mahama told workers at the May Day celebration at the Black Star Square in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
He said his Government is “committed to plugging loopholes in our revenue systems and will carry out the reforms in our revenue administration to ensure sustainable economic growth.”
About 1.3 percent of Ghana’s GDP, translating into over Ghc1 billion was paid to non-existent public sector employees or ghost workers in 2012, according to analyses done by Dr Joe Abbey, Executive Director of Economic Think Tank Centre for Policy Analysis.
Dr Abbey said an average of Ghc100 million was paid to ghost employees every month in 2012. He told XYZ News in an interview in March 2013 that the Centre made the estimates following a careful study and analyses of the 2013 budget presented to Parliament on Tuesday March 5.
“The question about ghost or ineligible workers dealt a decisive blow…our estimate was that as much as 1.3 percentage points of our GDP was being lost to these ghost payments and so a billion cedis was the estimate that we saw, like 100 million a month”, Dr Abbey noted.
The 2013 budget reported a deficit of 12.0 percent of GDP. The public wage bill for 2012 ballooned to 72.3 percent of tax revenue as a result of the implementation of the single spine salary structure. It had earlier been estimated at 60.9 percent by the President in November 2012 in the State of the Nation Address.
The wage bill constituted 2.7 percent of GDP of the 12.0 deficit. It translated into 1.91 billion Ghana cedis. The Government targeted a nine percent (9%) deficit for the year 2013.
Dr Abbey told XYZ News the government of Ghana must fight the ghost employees’ phenomenon with all the vigour it can muster.
“This ghost issue should be laid to rest and it should be presented in a slightly more serious way. We find that some people are fraudulently raiding our national coffers and paying people who are either ineligible or illegal. That behaviour is not tolerable at a time when there is so much suffering from unemployment and feeling of increasing poverty.”
Fixing the economy
As far as fixing the economy is concerned, President Mahama said: “Government has been implementing a home-grown strategy to address the economic challenges that we face.”
According to him, “Our strategy focuses on resolving the adversity facing our economy both in the short term and in the medium term.”
He added that: “While some of the measures have been quite harsh, I assure you my countrymen and women that these measures are achieving the desired effect and the economy is gradually responding.”
President Mahama was optimistic that: “This year is a turn-around year for Ghana and I am positive that the Ghanaian economy will show strong signs of recovery by the end of this fiscal year.”