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27.02.2009 Editorial

How much are you saving for the nation?


One of the major flaks that former President John Agyekum Kufuor's administration received was about the large number of Ministers that were appointed to form his government.

Whilst in opposition, Mr. Kufuor was very critical of Mr. Jerry John Rawlings for over-bloating his government with so many ministers. When Mr. Kufuor later assumed the presidency, he could not keep to his promise of forming a lean government, and this made the media to take him on his own criticism of the Rawlings administration. He later confessed that having come face to face with the reality on the ground, his criticism of Jerry Rawlings' government was a misplaced one.

President John Evans Atta Mills, who was then the vice President at the time Mr. Kufuor and other opposition members were criticizing the size of the government, is also on record to have stated that he would cut down on the size of his government, and also reduce protocol and foreign travel spending. Looking at the present economic situation that the world is facing, it is good news that the President has decided to cut down the size of his government and reduce protocol spending. We do not, however, expect the President to start his administration with all these good programmes, and then come back later to tell Ghanaians different stories like former President Kufuor did.

As we wait to see whether the President can keep to his word about this new crusade or not, The Chronicle thinks Ghanaians would be glad if the President can tell them the amount of money that is saved from this austerity measures of cutting down both government and protocol spendings. This would enable the public to judge whether the President is just engaging in mere political rhetoric or he is really saving some money for the country. The Chronicle is raising this point because some former Ministers in Kufuor's government have made it clear that putting two Ministries together would not necessary lead to substantial cut in expenditure.

They also argue that the Kufuor government did not employ new civil servants for the new Ministries that he created, therefore, it is wrong for President Mills to state that because he has re-aligned some of the Ministries, he would be cutting down on expenditure. With this argument, The Chronicle thinks the best way of knowing who is telling the truth, is for the President to make public the former government's expenditure on those Ministries and how much is going to be spent on the newly re-aligned Ministries. If this is to be done, it would help put to rest the doubt surrounding the re-alignment of the Ministries and claims that it would help cut down on cost.

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