General News of Sunday, 8 March 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Ghana is spending more on salaries and emoluments for public sector workers than investment in infrastructure, according to a 2009-2012 budget tracking analysis done by IMANI Ghana, a policy think tank.
According to IMANI’s analysis, while emoluments of the public sector had been going up during the period, the same could not be said of investments in assets, which had largely been sporadic.
The analysis of public sector spending that cuts across many sectors also identified budget overruns as a key feature of government spending.
In the Ministry of Health, salaries and emoluments took GH¢1.6 billion out of the sector’s budget against GH¢30.4 million in investments while in the education sector, it was GH¢1.4 billion and GH¢503,606,228 for emoluments and investments respectively, according to the IMANI data.
It was only in the oil and gas sector that personnel emolument — Ghc4.2 million was not more than investment — Ghc7.4 billion.
Speaking at a stakeholder validation of budget tracking and analysis for the social and economic sectors of Ghana from 2009-2012, a Research Officer of IMANI, Mr Emmanuel Buadi Mensah, said although GH¢5.6 billion out of GH¢5.68 billion had been released under the period under review, most of the targets of the Health Sector Medium-Term Development Plan (HSMTDP) were not achieved.
Mr Mensah observed that in spite of the huge investment, mortality inequality gap between richest and poorest children appeared to be widening.
“The report also revealed that the indicator for nurse distribution did not improve and the numbers of midwives are reducing across all the regions with the exception of Ashanti Region, which showed a marginal increase.
“The doctor-to-population ratio did not change much and with 11 times less doctors per population in the Upper West Region compared to the Greater Accra Region,” the officer further stated.
Touching on different interventions within the education sector, he said although accessibility had improved during the period, quality remained a challenge.
Another research officer of IMANI, Mr Patrick Stephenson, stated that investments in the water sector notwithstanding, there still existed significant regional differences in access to improved sanitation that was more prevalent in urban than rural areas.
On the oil and gas sector, he said rural Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) promotion programmes aimed at increasing access to LPG by 50 per cent in 2015 was far from being achieved.
The President of IMANI, Mr Franklin Cudjoe, observed that the essence of the budget tracking was to ensure social accountability and to make sure that Ghanaians had value for what went into the public purse.