General News of Thursday, 16 March 2017
Ghana can do with just about 30 ministers who will be in charge of running the various ministries and regions.
This is the assertion by founding president of Imani Africa, Franklin Cudjoe.
According to him, the size of the country’s economy makes it possible for the country to have fewer ministers than it currently has to operate.
His comment comes on the back of recent ministerial appointments by President Nana Akufo-Addo, which brought to a total, 110 ministers, including deputies who will serve in his government.
“This country can do with about 30 ministers and that is set. I’ve been to Australia and the UK and their institutions and ministries that are being collapsed into desks for agency heads. That is a country that is vast like a continent in itself. I think 30 ministers can do for this country,” he told Richard Sky on Eyewitness News.
Mr. Cudjoe said he believes the deputy ministers named by the president for some ministries were unnecessary and if given the chance, he will prune the number to the region of 30 ministers.
He noted that some developed countries including Australia and the UK had resorted to collapsing their many similar ministries into major single ministries.
Akufo-Addo is the first president in the 4th Republic to have over one hundred ministers serving in his government, and according to Franklin Cudjoe, that does not auger well for the country especially as the president, Nana Akufo-Addo, had assured Ghanaians of protecting the public purse and being prudent in spending.
He said the current situation will lead to redundancy.
“You would have thought that the words used by the president himself in the run-up to the 2016 elections that he will protect the public purse will be minded so that when I hear the minister for information saying the economy is a weak economy and so you need a strong army of people, well then you may as well add militia people,” he said.
He argued that although the president had the legal right to appoint as many ministers of his choice, he must not be seen to be over-exercising that right which will not ultimately inure to the benefit of Ghanaians.
“The second justification for this which tells me that we’ve completely lost the plot is this whole business that because the constitution allows it, there is an open-ended opportunity, in my description of prudence, that falls under legal plunder. The fact that the law says that you can go and on does not mean that after you spoke about the very weak fundamentals of the economy you met, you should plunder it this manner,” he said.
Reacting to calls from pro-government elements that Ghanaians should judge the president by the delivery of his government rather than his current appointments, Franklin Cudjoe said, “an output based governance is based on some serious policy. You take education for instance, the major deliverable is ‘Free SHS’, have you seen any major policy document guiding how this will be deployed?… Have you seen a policy called planting for food and jobs? To see that we have a minister of state for Agriculture at the presidency and at the same time we have two deputy ministers for Agriculture, what will they be doing?” he quizzed.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Information, Mustapha Hamid, said, the “weak nature of the economy, requires a competent army” of people to restore it and achieve the needed transformation.
According to him, “the [President] has been guided by the competencies and experiences of the people and the legal requirements for making such appointments.”