Ghana public servants stiffle private businesses
Dr. Sulley Gariba, an international development specialist has raised concern over the rate at which public and civil servants were corrupting the system by either establishing businesses that flout their code of conduct.
He said it was sad to note that many public and civil servants were known to have private businesses, construction or consulting firms “on the side” of their official duties.
Dr. Gariba made this observation at a round table on “Promoting Sustainable Local and Regional Development” in Tamale on Thursday.
The forum was organised by the Northern Regional Coordinating Council in collaboration with the Association of Ghana Industries and the Institute of Local Government with support from the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).
Dr. Gariba who is also the Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Alternatives said many civil servants had consulting firms that bid against major private firms, while district and regional officials were also known to have companies that enter bids against private contractors.
“Often the same public officials who are in the conflict of interest also presided over the evaluation of the same bids,” Dr. Gariba said.
He said the practice had become so pervasive that few private businesses could survive such illegal competition.
He expressed worry that if the practice was not checked “sooner rather than later”, many of the newly appointed District Chief Executives may fall prey to it and become lucrative DCE-contractors and procurement agents.
Dr. Gariba said such was the business climate that, the only business it sought to promote was the business of the “government businessman”.
“This is the chronic malaise where those who are supposed to “enable” the business climate are in fact the same people corrupting the system,” he emphasised.
Mr. Stephen Sumani Nayina, Northern Regional Minister said the region abounds in a lot of resources and potentials yet to be tapped and harnessed for the benefit of the people.
He said there was however the need to improve upon the infrastructure, such as the provision of good roads, hospitals and schools in the region, to help harness its natural resources for rapid development.