Pressure group OccuppyGhana is demanding that President Akufo-Addo runs “a lean and mean government” to forestall the current economic hardship in the country.

In a press statement on Tuesday, the group said the hard times Ghanaians are going through is enough evidence that “there is no better time than now to reduce the size of government”.

“Times are hard. Things are hard. Very hard. Every Ghanaian is feeling the pinch and pain. To survive, citizens are forced to cut back on some essential things in life. The Government, which is largely to blame for the economic mess, must also cut back and more,” OccupyGhana said.

According to the group, President Akufo-Addo’s swashbuckling comments whenever the issue of the size of his government comes up for debate do not hold water.

“These are not normal times and ‘business as usual’ won’t cut it. The excuses for having and paying a large batch of ministers and other appointees to produce the results we see now, to the extent that they have ever been justified (which we deny), wear perilously thin in these times,” the group said. 

OccupyGhana said, “Time has tested both ‘the investment’ and ‘the pudding,’ and they have not aged well and have been found wanting. The combined return, two years to the end of the President’s second term, is this debilitating economic crisis.

“Unless the President’s new and unacceptable argument would be that we would be in a much worse situation but for his still large coterie of ministers, it is time to get ‘lean and mean’. If as citizens, we are compelled to cut down on our private expenses, then it is time for the Government to do the same to protect the public purse.”

The group is, therefore, demanding “for an immediate and drastic reduction in size, not limited to ministers alone, but all of the President’s non-ministerial appointees.”

Below is the statement from OccupyGhana:

Accra, October 25, 2022

MR PRESIDENT, IT IS TIME FOR A ‘LEAN AND MEAN’ GOVERNMENT

There is no time better than now, to reduce the size of the Government.

Times are hard. Things are hard. Very hard. Every Ghanaian is feeling the pinch and pain. To survive, citizens are forced to cut back on some essential things in life. The Government, which is largely to blame for the economic mess, must also cut back and more.

When in early 2017, the sheer size of the Government was revealed, we were not convinced that that was what Ghana required. In our press statement dated March 17, 2017, we criticised the President for that, stating that while ‘a government bureaucracy must be big enough to achieve the aims of the government,’ it must be ‘lean enough not to waste the resources of the state.’

We also pointed out that the ‘considerable amount of money in salaries, allowances and benefits… (in addition to enjoying a range of ex-gratia benefits when they leave office) does not sound to us like a diligent attempt to protect the public purse.’

However, in one of several responses to this criticism and others like ours, the President said to some new ministers that ‘as you know there are some who say my government is too big and there are too many of you. I am a firm believer in the adage that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ Another time, the President called the size of his Government a ‘necessary investment’ and assured Ghanaians that ‘it is not going to be a holiday’ for the ministers.

Time has tested both ‘the investment’ and ‘the pudding,’ and they have not aged well and have been found wanting. The combined return, two years to the end of the President’s second term, is this debilitating economic crisis. Unless the President’s new and unacceptable argument would be that we would be in a much worse situation but for his still large coterie of ministers, it is time to get ‘lean and mean’. If as citizens, we are compelled to cut down on our private expenses, then it is time for the Government to do the same to protect the public purse.

This is therefore a demand for an immediate and drastic reduction in size, not limited to ministers alone, but all of the President’s non-ministerial appointees. If for nothing at all, the symbolism in the Government also taking a hit, just like the rest of us, is very strong.

These are not normal times and ‘business as usual’ won’t cut it. The excuses for having and paying a large batch of ministers and other appointees to produce the results we see now, to the extent that they have ever been justified (which we deny), wear perilously thin in these times.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.