Ghanaians view gov performance as ‘very bad’
Date published: October 17, 2012
By Phyllis D. Osabutey and Janina Broker
The report states that “majority of Ghanaians rate government’s management of the economy, living standards, job creation, income gaps and inflation “very badly or badly””.
Altogether, 63% of Ghanaians perceive the country’s economic conditions as “very bad” and “bad”, whereas 30% described the country’s economic conditions as “very good” and “good”, the report stated.
The report, which also evaluates the quality of governance and economic performance, is managed by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), in collaboration with the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa), Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi, Kenya, and the Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (IREEP), Benin.
Giving a breakdown of the report, the Afrobarometer Outreach Coordinator, Ms. Kathleen Addy, explained that 77% of the 2400 adult respondents between the ages of 18 and 100 sampled, said government was performing very and fairly bad at keeping prices down.
However, 23% of respondents believe government was doing very or ‘fairly well’ at keeping prices down between May and June 2012, when the sampling was conducted, she said.
Relating the content of the round 5 AB report to members of the media in Accra, yesterday, she said 70% of respondents also rated government’s efforts at narrowing income gaps as very or ‘fairly bad’ while 27% rated it as very or fairly well.
In terms of creating jobs, 66% and 32% respondents said government was performing “very and fairly bad” and “very and fairly well” respectively.
Furthermore, 65% of respondents believe government’s performance at improving living standards was ‘very’ or ‘fairly bad’ while 34% of them thought government was rather performing very or fairly well.
As to how government was managing the economy, 52% of respondents described it as very or fairly bad whereas 46% thought of it as very or fairly well.
Ms. Addy said the report indicated that perceptions of the country’s economy as “very bad or bad” increased by 18% between 2008 and 2012 while there was a 15% decline in positive perception over the same period, adding, “However, the trend from 2002 to 2012 has been fairly stable.”
In retrospective, respondent’s opinions indicated that a large minority of 42% rated the national economic conditions as “much better” or “better” than twelve months ago while 33% rated it as “much worse” or “worse”.
On one hand, retrospective assessment of national economic conditions between 2008 and 2012 showed a decrease of 14% in the proportion of Ghanaians who think economic conditions are “much better” or “better” (from 56% to 42%).
On the other hand, the long term trend, 2002 to 2012, showed a 6% increase in the proportion of Ghanaians who assessed the country’s economic conditions as “much better” and “better” (from 36% to 42%).
Additionally, prospective evaluation of national economic conditions as “much better” and “better” increased by 12% points (from 61% to 73%) between in 2002 and 2012.
Despite the negative perception of the macro economy, Ghanaians expressed optimism about the future, because the prospective evaluations indicated that 73% of respondents expected the country’s economic condition to improve in the coming year.
Another area the report touched on was institutional and social trust. Here, the report stated that 72% of Ghanaians expressed trust in the army, 59% in the Electoral Commission, 56% in the President, 56% in the law courts and 54% in opposition parties.
In contrast, 58% of respondents expressed mistrust in tax agencies, 58% in the police, 55% in the local government body, 52% in the ruling party, and 50% in parliament.
Linked to this, popular approval ratings of national and local government institutions were mixed. Five or more in 10 Ghanaians approved the performance of the president at 59%, local government councilors at 53% and Member of Parliament (MP) at 50%.
However, “large minorities disapprove the performance of the same institutions, with the Ministries, Municipal and District Chief Executives (M/M/DCEs) receiving the worst rating at 47%”, the report noted.
It added that disapproval of the performance of President, local Councilors and MPs increased by 19%, 12% and 9% respectively between 2008 and 2012. In contrast, the performance approval ratings of these officials declined by almost the same margins, 19%, 9% and 8% between 2008 and 2012.
The report also touched on security and it showed that Ghanaians feel secure in their homes and neighborhood. While a large majority of Ghanaians “never” feel unsafe in their neighbourhoods (81%) or at home (84%), an overwhelming majority (94%) of Ghanaians said they have not been physically attacked in the past 12 months.
Similarly, 75% of respondents did not experience theft/robbery in their homes in the past 12 month, but 25% fell victim to robbery in the past year.
Also, the police are considered as the first point of reference for crime resolution as 61% of respondents said they would turn to the police if they became a victim of crime, 1 in 10 would consult traditional leaders (13%) and (15%) would go to their families and friends.
However, Ghanaians rarely reported crimes to the police such that only 6% reported crimes to the police, 20% never reported such incidents to the police while 74% claimed they had not been victims of crime during the last 12 month.
What people reported as keeping them from reporting crimes to the police was perceived corruption in terms of demand of money by police (26%), lack of time to go to police/reporting to police time consuming (11%), indifference of the police (13%) and the distance to the next police station (7%).
The Managing Director of Tropical Cables and Conductors Limited, Mr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi, who chaired the event, said the report was important because governance is about improving the lives of people, hence, the views of the people whose lives governments seek to improve cannot be ignored.
According to him, if the people did not think that government was improving their lives, then the government was not achieving its aims. In view of this, he said policy makers should listen carefully to the views of the people as captured in the AB report.
He said it was important for Ghanaians to identify with the report, and also serve as an eye opener for policy makers, adding, “I don’t think particularly that the numbers are important as the trends.”
He urged policy makers to critically examine the trends emerging from the report over the years to see if they were improving or otherwise, and look at the best direction for change.
He expressed the hope that the main actors mentioned in the report would respond to the critical issues raised and look at the way of addressing them. He concluded that in line with the optimism expressed by respondents, “no matter what happens, next year will be better.”
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