The Chief Policy Analyst at the Ghana Institute of Public Policy Options says President Akufo-Addo’s appointment of 123 ministers and deputies in his first term of office is untenable.
Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby said it makes a mockery of his earlier stance against former President John Mahama’s appointment of 84 ministers and deputies.
According to him, the Akufo-Addo government was extensively superfluous which suggests he may have taken that decision to reward party loyalists other than filling key positions for the smooth running of government.
He stated that news of the President’s decision to slim down his government now suggests same.
“I mean 122 ministers cannot be justified especially when in opposition you were very critical of the number of ministers of ex-president Mahama which was around 80 so what was the basis of the criticism?
“It makes it sound rather hollow and opportunistic if you increase the number that you were criticizing by 50 per cent or more.
“The number was excessive and the very fact that we are being told through little leaks that the President intends to reduce the size substantially, it’s an acknowledgement that maybe the initial exercise was more to reward loyal servants than to fill positions because these were much-needed positions,” he told Winston Amoah on JoyNews’ Upfront.
The former VALCO boss added that the appointment of so many deputy ministers was a rather spurious act.
He explained that “By the constitution, deputy ministers are not supposed to become active ministers when the substantives are not there. So really unless you have a ministry which has got multiple responsibilities, for which you may need to delineate by appointing specific deputies, I find the whole idea of deputies also spurious and not tenable.”
He was speaking in relation to the impact of President Akufo-Addo’s ministers on the country’s development drive and what news of his drastically minimising his government meant to the progress of the country.
Director of Communication at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, has hinted that the number of ministers, deputy ministers and regional ministers yet to be appointed will not exceed 85.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, he said this is as a result of President Akufo-Addo’s decision to collapse seven of the ministries he created in 2017 when he took over from John Mahama.
Dr. Wereko-Brobby welcomed the news stating that a slimmer government would have a more positive impact on the nation’s coffers.
He explained that even though NPP Party loyalists had argued that the President’s ministers were not being paid additional salaries, secondary costs to the minister’s position bore a heavier weight on the nation’s coffers.
“Not talking about the enormous cost on the ex-chequer of this country. Because it’s not just the cost of the minister, all the support system you bring to a minister, the housing, the special assistants, the security, the drivers, it’s so much cost to a position of minister.”
He advised the President to be economical in appointing ministers and even extra mindful when appointing deputies.
“I would have thought with a few deputies in very pointed positions where you think we may need…see because a minister is a political appointment. They are given political direction. I don’t think you need four or five people in a single ministry to give political direction as to what to do.
“The job is actually done by civil servants and bureaucrats and technocrats etc and so you’re giving only the political direction through the boards. You have boards which the president appointed anyway which are supposed to go from the general political direction, to the specific political direction for a particular implementing agency.
“So really, why do you need so many ministers when you’ve got the boards giving the same political and technical direction to the executives of a particular institution to implement what the government sees as its programme? “