Govt Size debate - Any end in sight?
The availability of resources for the maintenance and running of a government should be one of the first and major reasons to consider when a country decides to keep a large government.Subscribe
No matter the good intentions of a country to keep a large government, if there are insufficient resources to keep and maintain a large government size, it will be difficult for it to succeed.
When we juxtapose this argument with the need for the required human resource to carry out innovative and transformational government policies, one still realises that it still boils down to the availability of resources.
Other issues worth considering in the debate on government size are the geographical size and distribution of citizens in a country.
In a wide and largely dispersed geographic country, where many towns and villages are cut from the central administrative centres, there may be the need to keep quite a sizeable government in a bid to keep the government in touch with all parts of the country.
This is also important in terms of providing security and dealing with issues of external aggression.
In Ghana, especially under the current economic circumstances, it could be very difficult to keep and maintain a large-sized government. This is particularly so when one considers the allowances, salaries and other conditions that government appointees enjoy in Ghana.
The public sector wage bill of Ghana is huge. According to the 2021 budget, wages and salaries account for a little over 27 per cent of total projected revenue.
With our deteriorating economic circumstances, we must consider not only reducing the size of government but also passing legislation that will guide future governments on their appointments.
The discussion must, however, be depoliticised to give it the necessary support and endorsement by the relevant stakeholders.
The juvenile ethics of keeping political party activists, who contributed in diverse ways towards the victory of a political party in an election satisfied by appointing as many of them as possible to positions in government, does no good to anyone.
In most cases, this ‘job for the boys’ government appointments leads to the creation of mushroom state institutions with basically no contribution to the developmental agenda of the state, not forgetting the duplication of functions and strain on the public purse.
Of course, citizens should be employed, but they must be employed based on their skills and qualification to contribute to the national development agenda.
We must encourage the youth to acquire employable skills through training, apprenticeship and education and discourage them from violent and insulting politics with the sole skill of political party loyalty, which is of little to no benefit to the country.
Without standards, we cannot compete internationally.
Even when moral relativism provides us with the avenue to mirror issues from different perspectives, the objective, I think, is to come out with the best alternatives that make us stand out.
The freedom of speech and the daily debates on radio and television stations must all yield the positive fruit of giving us the best alternative, not arguments for the sake of arguments, as that will be an exercise in futility.
While we appreciate and even admire some of the arguments for a large government size, it cannot be accepted under the current circumstances.
We must do the needful and take urgent steps to keep the size of the government to the barest minimum.
The writer is a Marketing & Communication Consultant.