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General News of Friday, 23 September 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Ghanaians unhappy with high gov't spending - Survey

A survey commissioned by IMANI Ghana has suggested that most Ghanaians are unhappy with high government spending.

The respondents, numbering 10,020, from all the regional capitals, also 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 negative response, with 95 per cent, followed by the Western Region with 87 per cent and the Greater Accra Region with 86 per cent.

The survey was carried out in July 2016 by the Oxford Research Group for the IMANI Centre for Policy and Education to find out the expectations of voters in the run-up to this year’s general election.

The survey report, titled “IMANI festo 2016”, was made public yesterday by IMANI, which also presented an analysis of the survey’s findings on seven main themes; namely, governance, economy, government spending, power supply, health, agriculture and education.

Analysis of report

Presenting the analysis of the report, titled “Setting the expectations of the public against manifestos of political parties”, IMANI’s Senior Research Fellow and Director of Special Projects, Mr Selorm Branttie, said the pre-election report highlighted various topical areas in governance, economy, agriculture, health and gender issues and education as a yardstick to measure expectations.

He said “the report also analyses the promises made by the various political parties, examines how resonant the themes are in the minds of voters and seeks to determine an alignment or correlation with the messages of the various political parties.”

“Ultimately the report seeks to add to the debate on issues, align public opinion with party objectives and plans, and help understand the outcomes of previous policies on people,” Mr Branttie added.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of IMANI, Mr Franklin Cudjoe, said “the event is not about what politicians have said on the campaign trail. It is to ask what the voter actually wants from the political parties.”

Corruption

Presenting the results of the survey, the Head of IMANI’s Political and Economic Affairs, Mr Patrick Stephenson, said most respondents viewed the reduction in corruption as very important, with those in the Ashanti, Upper East and Greater Accra regions topping the list.

According to the research, “more than 50 per cent of Ghanaians believe that resources that have been lost to corruption must be retrieved.”

Respondents who were for this were in the majority in the Ashanti (68 per cent), Western (60 per cent) and the Upper East (54 per cent) regions.

Most of the respondents also desired decentralisation of political authority, with over 80 per cent believing that more women must be roped into governance, while over 90 per cent wanted the cost of education to be reduced.

Access and cost of healthcare, agribusiness promotion, the ease of doing business and the removal of unemployment were deemed by over 90 per cent of the respondents as needing serious attention.

Social interventions

Respondents in the survey also expressed their displeasure at how social interventions were executed.

Although the highest number of respondents, making up 20.06 per cent, asked that the NHIS should stay, 6.39 per cent wanted it scrapped, while 11.40 per cent wanted an intervention to remove schools under trees and afford more people access to education.

Topping the programmes that Ghanaians wanted to be discontinued were the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) with 25.12 per cent, the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), 16.36 per cent and employment freeze, 12.28 per cent.

Also included were the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme, free uniform/exercise book/free education, removal of subsidies, School Feeding Programme and borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The survey also showed that most Ghanaians do not want excessive borrowing to fund infrastructural development, but rather called for alternative sources of funding.

Word to politicians

The Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Lyeo Woon-Ki, cautioned politicians to be careful in analysing the results of the survey because they were not judgemental.

Adding his voice to the call, Anti-Corruption Campaigner and former Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Mr Vitus Adaboo Azeem, said “Ghanaians are not necessarily asking for the scrapping of programmes but are not pleased with how they have been handled.