General News of Thursday, 22 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
A former diplomat and Minister of Education, Mr K. B. Asante, has called for immediate sanctions against corrupt state officials. “The public service is not an institution for private money making.
It should have rules and practices which weed out the indolent and corrupt,” he stated.
Mr Asante was sharing his thoughts on integrity, as one of five speakers at a public lecture held in Accra last Tuesday, dubbed “The William Ofori Atta Heritage Lecture.” It was on the theme; “Reclaiming our Values – Pursuing Character for National Development”.
Speaking on the theme, he said the future of national development would be bleak if Ghana let go its good values of pride, confidence and self-reliance and “parents expect the state to feed, clothe and supply needs like sanitary towels to their children”.
Mr Asante said to instil integrity in the Auditor General and Accountant General’s departments, they should be composed of qualified men and women who had advanced in the service by merit and they should not be appointed from outside as seemed to be the practice.
A former official of the World Bank, Dr Samuel Ofori Onwona, who spoke on the cost of the lack of financial integrity to national development, said according to the December 2014 annual report of the Global Financial Integrity (GFI), the developing world lost US$6.6 trillion in illicit outflows between 2003 and 2012.
He said in real terms, the outflows increased to 9.4 per cent every year and peaked at US$991.2 billion in 2012 after a brief slowdown during the global downturn.
The report ranked Ghana 93 among 145 countries with about US$3.2 billion in illicit financial outflows during the period.
Dr Onwona said sub-Saharan Africa topped the illicit flows list with an average of 5.5 per cent of GDP, while it averaged the same GDP growth of 5.5 per cent during the period.
“National Integrity is built on the foundation of individual integrity, so if we are failing at the national level, let’s look inside and stop pointing fingers,” he said.
Dr Onwona said, “at the national level, we need a change of paradigm from over-emphasis on smartness and high IQs to more and more emphasis on integrity. By our past heavy focus on smartness, we have built a society of very smart people who know how to beat the system.”