General News of Thursday, 13 February 2014
Vice president of IMANI-Ghana, Kofi Bentil says the country is not benefiting from the quality leadership for which its people are being taxed.
According to him, leaders of the country do not appear to be interested in providing solutions to the "embarrassing problems" - guinea worm, kwashiorkor and the lack of potable water - but rather, use the taxes paid by the poor to improve their economic status.
"But we have to appreciate that, if they [politicians] are in power and have the ability to increase their salaries and opt out of our common economic situation, then other people will also demand their pound of flesh," he warned.
Kofi Bentil made the comments on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Thursday, February 13, 2014 while commenting on the long list of persons engaged by government as presidential staffers for the year 2013.
President John Mahama on Wednesday presented a report containing 678 names to Parliament including four presidential advisors, four ministers of state, 24 presidential staffers and other civil/public service staff.
It also includes 47 people engaged to maintain the gardens at Office of the President, Flagstaff House. The state reportedly spends over Ghc3 million a month as salaries for the staffers.
To reinforce the position of critics, Mr. Bentil says the number of staffers at the presidency is unreasonably large and an unnecessary drain on the public purse.
He questioned why nearly 50 people would be paid every month while they have failed to maintain the frontage of the presidency.
"Foreigners who don't come from this country are able to settle here, build from scratch and maintain grass that is green and... our presidential palace, more or less cannot maintain grass with about 50 people tending it and we pay them," he wondered.
"In a country where you've taken money [tax] from kayayei [head potters]...somebody's conscience must be pricked and somebody must stand and ask all these...hangers-on; what do they do for eight hours a day that makes them draw fuel and all the kinds of things that they draw on us.
"We should be getting 3 million cedis (sic) worth of leadership in this country because of the kinds of problems we have," Mr. Bentil stated.