• Politics

    Bright Simons got his 2020 cost per voter wrong! – Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako

    Bright Simons claimed on Saturday’s Newsfile that the Electoral Commission lied when the Commission stated that the cost per voter in 2020 was $7.7. He claimed that from his calculations, Ghana’s cost per voter was rather $12.5, as he suggested the country spent over ₵1.2 billion on the 2020 elections.

    To start with, from the 2019 Appropriation Act, I have highlighted below the total 2020 budget of the Electoral Commission:

    The breakdown of the EC’s 2020 budget as captured in the 2019 Appropriation Act was as follows:

    Note that the total budget for Electoral Services for 2020 was ₵760,074,169.

    Now, please refer to the Electoral Commission’s actual expenditure for 2020 from the Annual Budget Performance Report of the Ministry of Finance below:

    From the MoF report, the EC’s Use of Goods and Services was ₵762,188,869, while total expenditure, including Capital Expenditure of ₵515,320,775, amounted to ₵1,328,437,649. The EC’s Parliamentary appropriation of ₵760,074,169 for Electoral Services was exceeded by only ₵2,114,700.

    From the above information, I can easily understand how the EC calculated its cost per voter for the 2020 elections: If you apply an exchange rate of ₵5.82 to $1, the actual expenditure on Goods and Services of ₵762,188,869 gives you $130,960,286.77. If you then divide that by 17 million voters, you get $7.7 per voter.

    What goes into cost of elections?

    The cost of services and supplies that support operations carried out by the Electoral Commission to conduct elections is what constitutes cost of elections. This is what was referred to as Electoral Services in the 2019 Appropriation Act.

    Capital expenditure on assets such as buildings and other infrastructure that will last several decades or several election cycles, cannot be allocated to just one election cycle. Even if you decide to depreciate the assets that constituted capital expenditure and apply a charge against the 2020 elections, you are not likely to arrive at a figure anywhere near ₵1.2 billion as the cost of the elections. Section 102 of Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), Interpretation, provides as follows:

    “Capital expenditure” means any expenditure for the creation or acquisition of a fixed asset, inventory or other valuable physical stock which is not expended within the year.”

    Unfortunately, when Bright Simons claimed that Ghana spent over ₵1.2 billion on the 2020 elections, he had either erroneously or deliberately added the capital expenditure of ₵515,320,775 to the EC’s actual expenditure on electoral services, and thereby arriving at a cost per voter of $12.5. This is totally misleading and lacks merit.


    Leave A Comment