Government Targets GH¢512m From 'Ghost' Workers
8/3/2012 5:34:09 PM -
Debate on the 2012 supplementary budget commenced in Parliament yesterday as government targets GH¢512 million as savings from the deletion of ghost-names on its payroll.
Ghost-workers are people who do not exist but are said to receive salaries from government, a phenomenon that contributes to an increase in government's wage bill.
Government is seeking the approval of Parliament to spend an additional sum of GH¢2,613,407,346.00 as supplementary estimate of the government for the 2012 financial year.
The estimates were presented to the House by Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor on July 18, 2012.
According to government, as part of measures to rid its payroll of ghost names, headcount and verification was being undertaken in the entire public sector and that ghost names detection and deletion would provide savings to the tune of GH¢512 million for 2012 fiscal year.
However, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei indicated that government's target was far too high.
Supporting the motion for the approval of the supplementary budget, Dr. Akoto Osei wondered how many ghost names were on government's payroll, whose detection will make savings of up to GH¢512 million.
Dr. Akoto Osei, a former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and MP for Old Tafo, urged government to review the target downward to a more realistic figure.
The economy, he indicated, was in bad shape as sectors such agriculture were experiencing decline growths with Gross International reserves reducing from $5.4 billion to $4.1 billion.
However, a Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terkper said the economy had performed well in an election year during which it usually came 'under speculative attacks.'
The performance of the economy, Mr. Terkper pointed out, should be evaluated based on the difficulties that the government inherited in 2009.
Government, he indicated, will prudently manage the economy in this election year to sustain the successes chalked so far such as reduced inflation in the country.
According to government, total revenue and grants at the end of December, 2011 amounted to GH¢12,908.0 million (equivalent to 21.8 percent of GDP) compared to the budget estimate of GH¢11,967.4 million (equivalent to 21.1 percent of GDP).
Domestic revenue, made up of tax and non-tax revenue, totaled GH¢11,676.6 million, equivalent to 19.7 percent of GDP.
Furthermore, the outturn was 9.9 percent higher than the budget of GH¢10,620.9 million.
Year-on-year basis, domestic revenue increased by 51 percent and this was mainly on account of strong tax revenue.
Government said total tax revenue for the period of January to December 2011 amounted to GH¢9,776.1 million, equivalent to 16.5 percent of GDP.
This was higher than the budget of GH¢8,527.1 million by 15.0 percent and 55.3 percent higher than the outturn of GH¢6,294.7 million recorded during the same period in 2010.
The outturn for International Trade Taxes, made up of import and export duties, was GH¢l,516.0 million, indicating a 7.4 per cent over- performance compared to the budget target of GH¢l,411.3 million.
The outturn was 32.3 percent higher than the outturn for 2010.
Government said out of the total international trade taxes, import duties amounted to GH¢l,511.0 million, 12 percent higher than the budget target of GH¢1,349.1 million, and 43.7 percent higher than the outturn for the same period in 2010.
By Awudu Mahama