Akufo-Addo defends bloated gov't; challenges critics to wait and see

Akufo-Addo defends bloated gov't; challenges critics to wait and see
Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Nathan Gadugah
Date: 17-03-2017 Time: 07:03:12:pm

The President, Nana Akufo-Addo has mounted a bold incurable defence of a largely unpopular decision to announce a government size bigger than any other in the country's history.

In an interview on GTV the president said the cost of running this large sized government will become a non-issue in the next few years by which time his government would have built a better, bigger  economy.

In any case, he argued about 65% of his appointees are already in Parliament drawing salaries and the cost involved in turning them into ministers will be just a drop in the ocean.

He was contributing to a debate that has gained traction the last few days in the three months old Akufo-Addo government.

The president announced a total of 110 ministers and deputy ministers to steer the affairs of the country.

The number of the ministerial appointees is the biggest in the history of government, with the Information, Energy, Finance, Agric, Ministries having as many as three deputies.

The vehement justification by the Information Minister Mustapha Hamid triggered as much controversy as the sheer number of the appointees announced by the president.

But Nana Akufo-Addo in a bold attempt to lay the matter to rest, said his government will work to transform the economy in a way that will trivialize the arguement about the cost involved in running a big government.

"I am aware that people are concerned about what they see is the cost of this large government. The number of deputy ministers, 42 out of 50 are all Parliamentarians. In effect, converting them from Parliamentarians into ministers, the marginal cost of that transformation is minimal in terms of its impact on the public exchequer.

"Over all out of the 110, 65 to 70% of them are all from Parliament. So the burden on the public exchequer which is the matter that is agitating the minds of people will not be anywhere as acute as people think.

"...If our strategy for economic growth succeeds in accelerating the rate of growth in the economy, what you call the brouhaha over appointment of large government will certainly be a brouhaha.

The president dismissed assertions that his appointments will create a parallel structure to the civil service, insisting his appointments are targeted, well thought through to achieve the best possible results for the country.

He reiterated the point that his appointees will be disappointed if for any reason they think they can amass wealth by becoming ministers.

"That will not happen under my watch," he pointed out.

He said in record time, he has ensured that his appointees have declared their assets as part of efforts to fight corruption.

The president said he and is appointees are dedicated to increasing the growth of the economy from 3.6% to 6% and reducing the deficit from some 9% to 6%.

He said they will clear the way for the private sector and create a congenial environment for it to function well and grow the economy.

"The overall strategy is a strategy about growth. We do not contemplate a situation where we are going to repeat the recent growth in the economy as we have seen in the last three to four years," he said.

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