Ghana’s Public Sector Workers Don’t Do Much


Outspoken Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo says there is a desperate need for a restoration of discipline in the public sector.

Too many people in the country’s public sector, he says, do very little at work.

“For every one hardworking staff, several others do nothing,” Mr Domelevo said. He was delivering the third Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Memorial Lecture in Accra Thursday.

He said there is a breakdown of discipline in many public institutions affecting service quality and delivery.

The Auditor-General was re-echoing repeated complaints about lack of diligence, commitment and dedication in Ghana’s civil service.

President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his inaugural speech on January 7, 2017, cited attitude to work as a major problem confronting the country.

At a May Day event later in the year, he said, “we arrive at work late and then spend the first hour in prayer, we become clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work because it is the official closing time. Everything comes to a stop when it rains and we seem to expect the rest of the world also to stop.”

“We have no respect for the hours set aside for work. We pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone… we take a week off for every funeral and then we wonder why we are not competitive,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Mr. Domelevo repeated local saying that everybody benefits from their work and said in Ghana “we are eating the work itself. They are chopping down the tree.”

But that is not all; he said public servants turn up late to work and leave early, not realising that that is a form of corruption.

As Auditor-General, “At least for the one year and nine months that I have been in office, once I’m in Accra, latest by 7:15 am, you find me in Accra. By 9:30 am you are looking for your staff and they are not there. [When] you call they say” today the traffic is bad.

It is often said the private is the engine of growth. Mr Domelevo said that an engine cannot perform of the engine oil in it is not good enough, likening the public sector to engine oil that propels an engine to perform.

“We need a public sector which is up and doing and I think it is time we looked at the rules again; there should be consequences for non-performance and there should be consequences for indiscipline in the public sector,” he stressed.

He said a disciplined public sector in Rwanda has positively affected individual behaviour in that country. “If you go to individual homes (in Rwanda), you see that they are clean; that is how public policy affect the behaviour of people; immediately government is disciplined, you must be disciplined.”

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