There are strong indications that the majority of Ghanaians want the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to retrieve all monies lost by the state through corruption scandals, especially judgement debts.
According to the latest survey by policy think-tank, IMANI Ghana, it is important that the government pursues and retrieves such monies for the benefit of the country.
Respondents were drawn from all the 10 regions of Ghana and were asked to rank their expectations on several projects and themes.
These included governance, gender, health, education, agriculture, the economy and infrastructural development.
A total of 10,020 respondents were sampled for the survey. For instance, in the Western, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions, representing 62, 68 and 56 percent respectively, the respondents insist that it is “very important” such monies went back into state coffers.
IMANI’s pre-election report was a yardstick to measure expectations of the citizenry.
The government has over the years been rocked by corruption scandals, notably the Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s GH¢51.2 million controversial judgement debt.
Last year, 35 people, including the top brass of the National Service Secretariat (NSS), were arrested by operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for allegedly stealing over GH¢107 million from the national kitty.
They were held for acting together to pay allowances to non-existent service personnel between September 2013 and August 2014.
The case has so far stalled, with speculations that the wife of a top official in the NDC administration was a beneficiary of the scandal.
She allegedly received a brand new V8 cross country vehicle; and the suspects are ready to go to town with the deal, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.
The government again paid GH¢429 million to the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) for a training programme for the youth, which was never done.
Meanwhile, the government is also in court in an attempt to retrieve the cedi equivalent of $325,472 in judgement debt wrongfully paid to ISOFOTON SA.
Beyond the call for the retrieval of dubious judgement debts, Ghanaians want pro-poor government interventions such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Free Maternal Care, Metro Mass Transit, among others, to continue but SADA, GYEEDA, MASLOC, Single Spine and 15 others scrapped.
The findings indicated that some 25.12 percent of the respondents want SADA to be scrapped.
While 16 percent want the GYEEDA programme discontinued, 12 percent want the freeze on employment lifted.
Seven percent of the respondents called for the discontinuation of the LEAP programme, while another 6 percent want a scrapping of the free school uniform, free exercise books and free education policies of the government, as well as the discontinuation of borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
They were also unhappy with high government spending. They largely answered ‘no’ to a question on whether the government should continue to spend heavily in spite of the country’s rising debt stock.
Respondents from the Central Region were the most emphatic in the response, with 95 percent, followed by the Western Region with 87 percent and the Greater Accra Region with 86 percent.
On fighting corruption, 69 percent of people sampled in both the Ashanti and Upper East Regions, 49 percent in Brong-Ahafo and 53 percent in Eastern Region hold the view that it is “very important” the government works to reduce the prevalence of corruption.
The respondents further generally agree on the importance of education – primary, secondary and pre-tertiary – but argued against the cost of the latter.
Touching on agriculture, respondents in the Ashanti, Greater Accra, Northern and Western Regions believe the subsidization of seedlings and fertilizer is very relevant and key to ensuring food security all year round in the country.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson