The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), has dismissed assertion that government’s huge team of appointees, might result in mass corruption.
NPP Deputy Communications Director, Mike Ocquaye Jnr., said there was no evidence to prove that previous regimes which had small teams, were less corrupt.
Pressure Group, Occupy Ghana, had joined the list of organisations calling on the President to downsize the number of Ministers appointed to serve under his government.
The pressure group in a statement indicated that, the President’s appointment of what critics have described as “elephant-sized” cabinet, will only lead to corruption.
It argued that President Akufo-Addo’s promise to protect the public purse, will not be possible with this huge number of ministers . “The problems that beset this nation are known to all. Paramount among them is the issue of corruption.
In creating such a huge bureaucracy, have we not increased the chances of corrupt officials plundering the little that we have left as a nation?In his inaugural address, the President promised to protect the national purse.
The appointment of 110 ministers who, in comparison to the average Ghanaian, will be earning a considerable amount of money in salaries, allowances and benefits over the next 4 years (in addition to enjoying a range of ex-gratia benefits when they leave office) does not sound to us like a diligent attempt to protect a sorely-depleted purse.”
The group further intimated that, the appointment will hinder growth of the private business sector.
“The economy of this great nation can only grow if we let the private sector flourish. Large bureaucracies are not known to facilitate the growth of any private business sector. Do we not run the risk of crowding out and suffocating a struggling private sector with a gargantuan government bureaucracy?” The group therefore called on the President to “reconsider” the appointment.
On the contrary, Mike Ocquaye Jnr, said there were governments with lower number of ministers that were very corrupt.
He also indicated that the argument that a small team was efficient than a huge one, does not apply to Ghana, because of her peculiar political system.
Speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme Saturday, Mr. Ocquaye Jnr. said, President Akufo- Addo is focused on bolstering the economy of the country which has to be supported by the citizens.
The president has suffered severe backlash after he appointed 54 additional Ministers to his already 36 Ministers. This brings to 110, the total number of government appointees.
Political opponents and some civil society organizations, have registered their displeasure, casting doubts on the President’s promise to protect the public purse.
Political science lecturer at the University of Ghana (UG), Professor Ransford Gyampo, has said the huge size of government might encourage corruption since it would be difficult to monitor activities of all the ministers.
The President, has explained he settled on the number because of the challenges facing the country which he said require more “men and women” on deck.
He is convinced the ‘brouhaha’ generated by the size of his government will fizzle out after the economy begins to improve in the coming years.
Adding his voice to the defence, Mr Ocquaye Jnr., said former President Mahama’s government was heavily accused of corruption, despite having 84 Ministers.
He said out of the 110 Ministers, 65 percent of them are Members of Parliament (MP) and they would not be entitled to double salaries, but rather one.
“We cannot always just look at the cost of everything and not the value of it,” he quoted former President Kufuor, adding everything would be forgotten if “these people together are able to succeed.”
But Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, said the President has set a bad precedent with his decision which he believes defeats arguments that the number of civil servants has to be reduced.
“By expanding the size of government, it makes it difficult to say you need a smaller size of civil service when you are expanding yours,” he noted.
Below is the statement from OccupyGhana
Elephant-sized’ gov’t will worsen corruption – Occupy Ghana
OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT OCCUPYGHANA® QUESTIONS THE SIZE OF THE EXECUTIVE AND DEMANDS STRICT PERFORMANCE STANDARDS
Like a great number of Ghanaians, we at OCCUPYGHANA® look with great concern at the number of ministerial appointments that the President has made to date. As of 16 March 2017, there were 110 ministerial appointments.
We are aware of the plans of the new administration to enact significant changes to the way the business of government is done, in enacting its vision to help this nation develop. We are also aware that some of these changes require the requisite manpower to achieve success.
We are, however, concerned at the apparent overlap in the portfolios of a number of ministers, and at the number of deputies named for several ministries. It is our firm view that a government bureaucracy must be big enough to achieve the aims of the governing administration, yet lean enough to not waste the resources of state.
Both the President in his State of the Nation Address, and the Minister of Finance in his budget presentation, lamented the dire state of the nation’s economy.
Can Ghana with its present economic situation afford 110 ministers? Can we not do more with less? The problems that beset this nation are known to all.
Paramount among them is the issue of corruption. In creating such a huge bureaucracy, have we not increased the chances of corrupt officials plundering the little that we have left as a nation?
In his inaugural address, the President promised to protect the national purse. The appointment of 110 ministers who, in comparison to the average Ghanaian, will be earning a considerable amount of money in salaries, allowances and benefits over the next 4 years (in addition to enjoying a range of ex-gratia benefits when they leave office) does not sound to us like a diligent attempt to protect a sorely-depleted purse.
The economy of this great nation can only grow if we let the private sector flourish. Large bureaucracies are not known to facilitate the growth of any private business sector. Do we not run the risk of crowding out and suffocating a struggling private sector with a gargantuan government bureaucracy?
We therefore call on the President to reconsider the size of his ministerial appointments. Are there positions that may be consolidated? Do the ministers with several deputies really need that very many?
Do we still need deputy regional ministers when there are district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives?
Additionally, as part of the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation’s duties, a set of key performance indicators (“KPIs”) should be urgently developed for each ministerial position, published on the ministerial website, and assessed by the President, Vice President and Minister for M&E on an annual or preferably biannual basis. Such KPIs must be designed to ensure there is no overlap of duties so as to duplicate responsibilities between ministers.
The government should commit to dismissing any ministers who are found wanting under such an assessment scheme, and to a constant and robust evaluation of the effectiveness of ministers and ministries.
The breadth of skills and experience from the private sector that have been introduced by this government should mean that many in the ministerial ranks adapt easily and perform well under such accountability. It is going to take all citizens working together and harnessing our creativity and skills to move our dear nation forward.
In doing so, in current financially constrained circumstances, we must find a way to do more with less. Bigger is not always better. In this case, bigger might in fact be wasteful and corruption-inducing. As always, for God and Country.