By Joseph Ojumu
The embattled government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has defended its decision to appoint a massive 110 ministers.
Speaking up in defence of his boss, Information Minister Mustapha Hamid, insists that President Nana Addo did not at any point promise a lean government, urging Ghanaians to rather judge thir performance on grounds of efficiency and not the size of the government.
This is coming even as considerable outrage has continued to trial the recent release of the additional names of 54 deputy ministers by the President Nana Akufo-Addo administration.
In one of the latest reactions, the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) implored President Akufo-Addo to cut down on the size of his government especially through the list of deputy ministers presented to parliament for approval.
According to the center, Akufo-Addo’s 110 ministers and deputies is ‘unprecedented’ and ‘obscene’ and likely to have a negative impact on the public purse.
CDD in its release expressed dismay at President Akufo-Addo’s rash of appointments, saying it sets a negative record for Ghana, which is already famous in the sight of the global community for having over-sized ministerial teams.
The release issued on Thursday March 16, 2017, said “appointments betray inadequate sensitivity to the weak fiscal condition of the country today, as it flies in the face of the President’s promise to protect the public purse.”
It expressed shock that Nana Addo was not being guided by the examples of “Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and John Magafuli of Tanzania who significantly downsized their governments to signify “change” upon assumption of office” but went ahead to “lowering the bar of unwisely ministerial size and government in Ghana’s 4th Republic.”
The statement also called on the president to publish the salaries and emoluments of all appointed public office holders so Ghanaians can appreciate the true of cost of governing the country.
While urging Akufo-Addo to be “sensitive to the voice of the people and take steps to reduce the growing burden on the public purse,” the CDD called for a law to be passed to put a ceiling on the maximum number of ministers and deputies a president can appoint.
Across Ghana, President Nana Addo’s decision to appoint some 110 Ministers including deputies and regional ministers, has generated mixed reactions among Ghanaians who are mostly outraged by the move.
The President had on Wednesday, named 54 persons to serve as Ministers of State at the presidency/ministries, and deputy ministers in his government, bringing to 110, the number of ministers who will be serving under his administration.
This is the highest number of appointees any government has had since the fourth Republic.
Many Ghanaians who could not hide their frustration about the move, took to social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, to express their concerns.
Several of them attributed the move by the President as one of rewarding party loyalty by giving out positions, instead of having in mind the larger national interest.
The reactions have not been any different in Ghana’s closest anglophone neighbour and fellow member of the regional grouping, ECOWAS, Nigeria, where commentators lamented why Africa continues to be sorely blessed with leaders that promote cronyism over real development.
The view generally is that the move will only burden the public purse considering that, aside the salaries and benefits, all these officials will retire with huge amounts as ex-gratia.
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana