On the issue of public spending on Office of Government Machinery, who has been the better manager?

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CDS Africa

Administrator . Updated February 9, 2023

In recent times, there has been a debate on who among the two political parties in Ghana – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – has managed the public purse with reference to spending on Office of the President, in other words, Office of Government Machinery (OGM).

The Office of Government Machinery exists to provide accountable, transparent, managerial, technical and administrative services to the Presidency and other stakeholders for the attainment of government’s development agenda of improving the quality of life of Ghanaians. 

CDS-Africa as part of our mandate to promote democracy, socio-economic development and transparency in all spheres of governance, commissioned an independent analysis on expenditure on Office of Government Machinery in Ghana covering the periods, 2013 – 2016 and 2017 – 2020.

All data used in this analysis were sourced from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) budget statements and the Auditor General’s reports. The study shows that the Office of Government Machinery budget allocation for the NDC in 2013 was Ghc 312,345,521; in 2014, it was Ghc 326,838, 620; and in 2015, Ghc 453,877,343.

In 2016, the initial allotted budget was Ghc 768,163,104. However, a revised budget in the same year saw the initial allotted amount increase from Ghc768,163,104 to Ghc 2,988,826,658.

Furthermore, the 2016 Auditor General’s report - with reference to page 21 and 22, indicated that the revised amount of Ghc2,988,826,656 was further overspent in excess of Ghc 3,115,167,455 bringing the total amount spent on Office of Government Machinery in 2016 to Ghc 6,103,994,114 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Office of Government expenditure by Mahama Administration.

Source: Authors’ compilation based on data from MoF.

In order to track the change in expenditure over time, we also analysed the percentage changes in OGM expenditure within the study period for the NDC. The findings show that in 2014, the percentage change in OGM spending was 4.64%, implying an increase in spending by about 5% compared to the previous year. In 2015, it was further increased to 38.87%.

For the case in 2016, we first considered the revised allotted amount of Ghc 2,988,826,659, which the percentage increase in spending was 558.5% compared to 2015 OGM expenditure. However, factoring into the analysis the difference revealed in the Auditor General’s report, that is Ghc 6,103,994,114, the NDC increased OGM spending by 1244.86% in 2016 compared to 2015 OGM expenditure. This reveals an astronomical increase in spending on OGM. Suffice to say that 2016 was indeed an election year.

Considering the case of the NPP, the study reveals that spending on OGM in 2017 was Ghc 1,560,926,672; in 2018, it was Ghc 1,948,846,372; in 2019, it was Ghc 1,768,260,250; and in 2020 – Ghc 4,026,044,977 (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Office of Government expenditure by Akufo-Addo Administration.

Source: Authors’ compilation based on data from MoF

Similarly, to track the increase or decrease of spending on OGM, we also analysed the percentage changes in expenditure from 2017 to 2020. In 2018, using 2017 as the base year, our estimation shows that OGM spending was increased by 24.85%, compared to 2017 OGM spending. However, in 2019, the OGM spending witnessed a -9.27% compared to 2018 OGM spending. This means that the NPP reduced spending on Office of Government Machinery by about 9.3% in 2019 compared to 2018 OGM expenditure which is a unique and laudable case considering spending patterns on OGM within the study periods.

In 2020, which was an election year, OGM spending was increased by 127.68% (128%), compared to 2019 figures. Nonetheless, this increase of 128% which also happened to be an election year is nowhere near the 1,245% increase in 2016 OGM expenditure by the NDC.

Furthermore, comparing where the NDC left OGM expenditure in 2016 to the cumulative expenditure of the NPP’s first three years in office, it is obvious the NPP spent less in 3 years, (Ghc 5,278,033,294) than what the NDC spent in one year alone (Ghc 6,103,994,114).

CDS-Africa acknowledge that there are enormous challenges arising from the absence of reliable information and data, most especially, in public institutions. This information constraint, therefore, hampers empirical evidence that deals exclusively with public expenditure and discourse.

It is in light of this that this study was necessitated. It is hoped that this study can become a reference document for the ongoing public debate on the subject matter as it paints a clear picture on the trends in expenditure by both NPP and NDC with cognizance to the Presidency in Ghana.

Dr Frank Bannor 

Senior Research & Policy Analyst 


Dr. Abena Boateng

Director of Research


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CDS Africa

We lead research, advocacy and initiatives to advance democracy and policies to bring about socio-economic development.

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