In 2017, Mckinsey’s work in South Africa came under scrutiny when questions arose over its work for Eskom, a state-owned power utility at the centre of what turned out to be a huge government corruption scandal.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in spite of this past has hired McKinsey & Co. to help boost their revenue collections after missing the revenue target for the year by 1.8 billion cedis ($367 million).
Government is partly under pressure not just because it needs the money but also the International Monetary Fund has asked that Ghana increases revenue collections as spending on fixed investments is already too low.
The effort to increase efficiency at GRA is commendable but the choice of McKinsey knowing what has happened in South Africa raises a lot more questions.
For instance, what was the results of the work McKinsey did for the South Africa Revenue Service that has inspired the GRA’s trust in the same consultancy firm?
In a SAIS Perspectives article, Grace Cramer wrote something instructive about how Mckinsey operated in South Africa.
“While they implemented best practices de jure, in reality these practices were ignored, sacrificed for financial gain and powerful alliances.”
If a company as big and powerful as McKinsey is willing to sacrifice best practices to make money, it stands to reason to have doubts about the GRA’s intentions.
Whether the alliance between a much smaller revenue agency and McKinsey will help redeem their image in Africa is left to be seen.