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What African governments can do to reduce unnecessary expenditures?

28.04.2019
Article from AFRIC editorial
Accountability Transparency and management are some of Africa’s challenges. Despite the fact that Africa is perceived poor, government officials and employees are frequently reported for embezzling in different countries. Even funds donated by foreign governments and organizations for projects are sometimes syphoned. Governments spend excessively on programs, agencies and institutions which can be moderated if their modus operandi are restructured or abolished.

How the expenditures are incurred and possible ways to remedy them

1- Currency

African states should combat inflation, sell shares to foreigners and improve production both quantity and quality wise so that their currencies can have higher value in the world market. This will bridge the exceeding gaps between the United States Dollar (USD), Euro and the British pound making import and export profitable at the world market. The Libyan Dinar, Ghana Cedi and South African Ran are some of the African currencies whose value ranges from 1.4 to 4.8 as compared to the USD making their economy better and reducing their expenditures.

2- Public Services and Some Social Amenities

Governments should avoid hiring private sector services at high prices such as defense and security and recruit directly to avoid excesses. South Africa’s government is one of the few in Africa that hires security services from the private sector and it has been murmured by CNN that private security out-numbers government defense recruits in South Africa; such as Group 4 Security (G4S) and Security Association of South Africa (SASA).

3-  Privatize some establishments and services

Establishments such as plantations, water/energy plants, lodging/leisure facilities and brewery/beverage industries should be privatized or made parastatal. Since the demand for these services/products is certain, investors can willingly buy shares from the government. In Cameroon, the government has privatized the different sectors of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) the management burden thus reducing expenditure.

  •  Digital monitoring and auditing strategies

If the state computerizes the electoral processes, financial systems and auditing procedures, it will make the follow up, bills/tax payment and auditing easier thereby ensuring accountability and ensuring transparency. This will reduces the rate at which government funds are syphoned to private accounts and expenditure on physical materials.

  • Dissolve non active agencies

The government should dissolve some institutions, commissions and agencies under government payroll that were created to resolve issues during a particular era who no longer serve their purpose; such as conflicts, disasters and disease

  • Abolish some subventions, welfare schemes and incentives

African States should halt or revise some welfare schemes, subventions and incentives which were created to empower some communities. Muslim communities in Africa do not promote education especially for female children, lack health facilities and social provisions. Governments often subsidize education and other social services which is costly. This is typical with Northern Nigeria and Senegal whose Muslim communities are resisting education. These programs should be abolished after those communities have improved to cut down on state expenses.

  • End wars

Many governments in Africa have already spent billions USD on military conflicts and wars which have rendered them poor and indebted alongside the destruction of infrastructure and other resources are later replaced thus increasing expenditure. If these are resolved, expenditures will drop. DR Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and Libya are perfect examples.

  • Consolidate duplicative and contradictory programs

Activities that serve almost the same purpose but are under the control of different government institutions should be merged as one such as Basic/Secondary/Higher Education and Vocational Training, Fisher/Wild Life/Environment/Nature Protection and Agriculture to cut down cost of management; as in the case of DR Congo and Cameroon.

  • Monitor environment and promote health consciousness

Industrial activities such as lumbering, processing, mineral extraction which emit waste should be monitored and controlled because they can cause environmental degradation which is detrimental to the health of citizens. This will avoid disease outbreaks thus minimizing expenditures.

  • Reduce employment benefits and cost of running public events

Some states provide employment benefits and allowances in terms of housing, meetings fees, wardrobe allowances, fuel vouchers, security, energy/telephone bills, service cars and security. These are costly and the governments will save money by cutting down or eliminating them which is exactly what Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda has done.

If the different governments of African countries properly use and manage their wealth considering the immeasurable quantity of resources from which they get revenues, it will reduce the level of resource wastage, limit embezzlement, expenditures and consequently improve the economy alongside development.

Article from AFRIC editorial

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