The President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, has stated that until corruption is dealt with completely, the Ghana Beyond Aid mantra of the government will remain a mere rhetoric.
He said if mechanisms were properly put in place to wipe out corruption, there would be no need to source external funding to develop the country. Togbe Afede, who is the Paramount Chief of the Asogli Traditional Area, was addressing a meeting of the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi last Friday.
He said Africa lost about $148 billion annually as a result of corruption, while Ghana lost about $3 billion annually to the same canker.
A recent study by IMANI Ghana, which looked at procurement losses in the Auditor-General’s reports between 2012 and 2014 and compared it to the aid received by the country within the same period, indicated that the $3 billion lost to corruption was about 300 per cent of the aid Ghana received.
According to the study, the loss of funds through corruption was usually in the area of public procurement, with public officials inflating contract prices for the provision of goods and services.
Togbe Afede reiterated the fact that the $3 billion loss recorded by Ghana was more than the external support Ghana sometimes received. He pointed out that there would be no need for Ghana to borrow or depend on external resources if its resources were better managed.
He said the frequency of reportage on corruption in the country was very alarming and called for a national approach which would be all-embracing and involve stakeholders, including chiefs, to wipe out the canker.
Togbe Afede also expressed worry about what he said was the politicisation of national issues, to the detriment of national unity.
On illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey, he urged the government to empower chiefs to also play a part in the fight against the menace, else posterity would judge them wrongly.
He said although chiefs could not escape blame for galamsey, their views should be factored into the overall programme to deal resolutely with the issue.
Togbe Afede announced that an endowment fund with seed money of GH¢1.8 million had been set up by the National House of Chiefs to, among other things, help resolve a number of chieftaincy disputes.
Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Kofi Dzamesi
For his part, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, announced that the government would provide 25 vehicles to support the work of the National House of Chiefs.
Each regional house of chiefs, he said, would receive two vehicles, while the National House of Chiefs would receive three, with the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs receiving two for monitoring.
Mr Dzamesi also announced that the government had instituted an awards scheme, dubbed: The President Award for Chiefs, to be given to traditional rulers who would be able to minimise or eliminate galamsey in their areas.