General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has described as unreasonable justification from the Nana-Addo led administration that the previous government left behind a bad economy; hence the need for a ‘bigger’ team.“The argument that the economy is so destroyed so they need a bigger team to do the work; it doesn’t make sense (excuse my language). Are they saying that when you have a weak economy which does not have the capacity to spend on a bigger overhead, is that the time you appoint more ministers that will require a lot more money to be paying them? When you are talking about competence; are they telling us that when you have an incompetent person doing one job, you need three competent people to be doing that same job? Is that what they want to imply?” he queried.
General Mosquito as he is popular called, told TV3, Wednesday that a government that is complaining of the economy, should not appoint a lot of people since those appointed would have to be paid and catered for.
“Their salaries and overheads will just make the cost of doing business more expensive…If they don’t know how to calculate value for money tell them that a ministry which is headed by one person; if it takes a decision, you can calculate the cost of that decision as supposed to a ministry which is headed by four ministers. Each of them have to be paid, housed, transported around on free fuel, land cruisers, saloon cars and all that…what is the point in not being able to recruit nurses and pay them and u rather choose to employ more ministers and pay them with the money. It comes to priority; wrong priority setting” he added.
Asiedu Nketia’s comment comes on the back of President Akufo Addo’s appointment of 50 deputy ministers and 4 new ministers.
President Akufo Addo presented a list of 54 ministers on Wednesday, making the total number of appointees in his administration 110.
This has generated a lot of controversies as some critics thinks the number of ministers will put a stress on the public purse. Others have also described it as 'job for the boys'.
However, Mustapha Hamid says the number will rather help the President in achieving most of his promises as well as lift the economy back on its feet.
“We never promised a lean government. Nowhere did we promise a lean government, because in our view it is not the leanness or bigness of a government that determines its output and its ultimate performance. We have had, in the history of this country, governments that are smaller that have landed this country in bigger debt and bigger mess than governments that have had bigger ministers. For example, the Kufuor government, apart from this Akufo-Addo government, would have been the government that had the biggest number of ministers and deputy ministers. But everybody knows President Kufuor’s record in this country. Everybody knows what we did for this nation at the end of President Kufour’s government. Those who came subsequently after that and created all the financial mess that we have on our hands which we are still dealing with had a smaller government. So I can purport to run a government with 10 ministers and still create an avenue to loot our nation if that is what the Ghanaian people want or to have a government that is bigger than that but which has people of integrity, honesty who are on the job and doing the things that ought to be done” the Minister of Information said.
But General Mosquito insists that “to come and say that we didn’t promise a lean government so we are at liberty to do whatever we want, I think that it is rather rubbing pepper in the wound. It is not correct at all”
He queried: “what work will the ministers be doing themselves? Ministers are there to take decisions for people to work; so they shouldn’t let it appear as if the ministers themselves are the ones going to do the work…That argument is falsehood. Then they should proceed to appoint one district one minister so that each minister will be responsible for one district so they can finish the work quickly”.