A deputy finance minister, Anthony Osei Akoto says refreshments at state functions have become too expensive and a drain on the economy.
“Item 13” is savouries served after press conferences, workshops, seminars and at state functions.
“ The government therefore intends to cut down on the number of seminars, workshops and attendant refreshments (known as item 13 in some circles) for state officials to stem the drain on the economy,” he said.
Dr Akoto Osei announced this when he presented a paper on “ the current state of Ghana's economy as part of activities marking the 46th founders week celebration of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS).
The deputy finance minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Old Tafo in Ashanti did not give any figures of expenditure, but said, “ The refreshments are all wastes that government wants to cut down henceforth”
But even as he talked about the expense of the seminars, he appealed to GAAS to as a matter of urgency and national importance, organize lectures for Parliamentarians on how to debate on annual national budget statements.
“ The quality of debate in Parliament on the budget is so substandard and the academy has to take it upon itself to help is debate analytically.
I make this request so that we as Parliamentarians will be able to debate analytically to move the nation forward.
Mr Chairman, you would have been very sad today if you had been in Parliament and heard the kind of contributions made,” he said.
Dr Osei Akoto described the economy as being on “a sound footing” and very resilient but said there was still more to be done.
Today, Ghana's economy is characterized by reduced pressure from the country's foreign currency obligation as a result of external debt servicing.
Ghana's actual external debt serving has reduced drastically.