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Review regulatory procedures

BY: Charles Owusu Juanah
This canker permeates the fabric of society, especially in Ghana where the system does not support the unemployed, physically challenged, financially handicapped
This canker permeates the fabric of society, especially in Ghana where the system does not support the unemployed, physically challenged, financially handicapped

Public sector corruption is one canker that has bedevilled the development of most countries in our part of the world and the earlier antidotes were found to reduce this social menace, the better for the development of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This canker permeates the fabric of society, especially in Ghana where the system does not support the unemployed, physically challenged, financially handicapped and low-income earners. This, in itself, creates a serious problem with how these persons make ends meet.

The underprivileged group

Over the years, previous administrations have failed to make policies that are geared towards addressing these challenges.

Now, the continued neglect of these category of persons means poverty, lack of education for their wards, because of the lack of funds to pay their fees among others. It would also lead to the spread of diseases due to the lack of money to seek medical care, the increase in crime such as armed robberies, and the breeding of ill-equipped persons to control the country in the future.

As mentioned above, the development has created an unfair situation in society in that, when any of these deprived persons try to help themselves with other people’s property, it is classified as theft, thereby resulting in imprisonment. Now the situation gets even worse when an unemployed person who needs food to survive takes someone else’s food. That person is jailed but in real terms, when a human being is hungry, it is a matter of survival in the sense that without food, this person will probably be ill or faint or die.

This argument can run through all forms of situations that confront Africans, and for that matter, Ghanaians, since the country has no welfare system in place to take care of the needs of these persons, under the pretext that the country is impoverished to meet their constitutional rights.


Privileged few

It is also very clear that the rich people in Ghana today are the politicians and their cronies who milk the national purse to the detriment of the rest of us in this country. It is abundantly clear that we can account for all salaries or fees paid to these persons and it is a fact that their wealth is not commensurate with their income which, in itself, is disturbing. I must say that this situation of corruption in the public service is being fuelled by the archaic regulation and by-laws which civil and public servants are allowed to use in dealing with the public/private entities.

No welfare system

My temporary solution is that since we do not have a solid welfare system in place, the alternative is what we have; where relatives take care of their own. For example, if I am well-to-do, I am under obligation to take care of my nieces and nephews as well as other family members. By this, it follows that if I cannot get paid by the government at a certain period after executing a contract, the rippling effect is that those who depend on me for some form of sustenance don’t get what they should get, and the hardship triggers along.

One of the causes of this situation is where, for example, one has undertaken a job for the government as a public or a private entity and the person is not being paid because the one who has to approve the voucher for payment wants some money paid to him or agree to cede a percentage of that money to him in lieu of that he/she will not approve the voucher for payment. This results in the numerous incidence of non-payment of contractors after certificates of completion of contracts have been generated.

Now it is becoming abundantly clear that the regulations governing such dealings with the public or private sector is not properly streamlined so a public officer can deliberately delay one’s document or payment till his demands are met.

This is where my deregulation policy comes in handy. I will suggest that there should be timelines on applications for land title or land registration which should take very short periods after completion of contracts, simply because certain demands have to be met, so that the applicant is not delayed unduly.

Set timelines

From the foregoing, it should be mandatory that the approval for certain permits such as those for building construction, land titles, certificates raised by road contractors and others who have undertaken government projects must also undergo certain changes so that these permits are expedited to avoid delay which could lead to capital flight.

The best we can do as a nation is to set timelines of between 21 and 30 days after the submission of applications to eliminate the tendency where public and civil servants demand some ‘weight’ before they append their signatures to give the greenlight for payments. Failure to meet these timelines should exact serious sanctions on the officer responsible for the delay.

It is my expectation that when these issues are addressed and the necessary punitive measures are adhered to, corruption and extortion, which have in a way been institutionalised in the public sector, will be reduced to the barest minimum.