The Communication Director of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea has said he is “horribly disappointed” with President John Mahama’s appointment of 86 ministers and deputies to serve in his government.
Nana Akomea wondered why the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) which, during its days in opposition, harshly criticized former President John Agyekum Kufuor for having 82 ministers and Deputies in his first government between 2001 and 2004 has rather done worse.
He said the President should have rather had a lean government to demonstrate his concerns that the public purse is greatly under pressure from the public wage bill and thus the need for some belt-tightening as far as government expenditure is concerned so as to fight the 12.0 percent budget deficit of 2012.
In his State of the Nation Address this year, President Mahama warned that “the meat had come to the bones” and therefore urged public sector workers to tone down on their labour demands.
Nana Akomea wondered why the President has failed to demonstrate his leadership by example through a lean government.
He questioned the relevance of the six Ministers of State at the Presidency mocking that each of them has been given “funny funny assignments”.
Nana Akomea made the comments when he spoke on Joy FM’s News File Programme on Saturday March 30, 2013.
Co-Panelist and Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister-Designate Murtala Muhammed defended the size of the Mahama Government.
As far as the six Ministers of State at the Presidency is concerned, Murtala Muhammed said it was important having them to oversee the 47 Agencies under the Presidency.
He also said almost all the Ministerial and Deputy ministerial appointees have some level of expertise and understanding in the field to which they have been appointed or nominated.
Political Science Lecturer Ransford Gyampo had told some media earlier that a maximum of 40 ministers would have been enough to run the country.
Former Presidential candidates of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the People’s National Investigation (PNC) Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom and Dr Edward Mahama have respectively expressed similar sentiments in the past.
But a Lawyer who also appeared on the Current Affairs Programe Ernest Thompson questioned the scientific basis for that argument.
He had support from the Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr who said the increase of Ghana’s regions from five, since independence to 10, has also become a source of the bloated size of the Government.
Kweku Baako also noted that: “Sometimes it’s not so much the numbers but what the numbers will bring about”.
One of the President’s harshest critics, New Juabeng South MP Dr. Assibey Yeboah had noted in some media interviews that per the recommendations of the Professor Ewurama Addy report which considered the salaries for Executive and Legislative arms of Government, as much as between “GHC 500,000 to about GHC 1million” will be spent on one minister per year.
He said multiplying that by 86 will bring serious pressure to bear on the budget.
“You are paying your Minister about GHC 10,000 a month; you are paying you Deputies about GHC 9,000 a month, besides that you give them a Land Cruiser, you give them a salon car, now you have to give them a bungalow furnished, you have cooks, you have house boys and you have Police protection and free phone calls and the rest.”