Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has defended appointing a government of 110 ministers saying it is ‘a necessary investment’ and that ‘it is not going to be a holiday’ for ministers.
“I’m aware that people are concerned about what they see as maybe the cost of this large government,” Akufo-Addo admitted in an interview on national television.
“It is a necessary investment to make, for the rapid transformation of this country…they (ministers) are coming to work, it is not going to be a holiday” the President added
Out of the 110, fifty-six of them are full ministers, while 50 are deputy ministers, with the remaining four, ministers of state. It is the largest government since the country, of about 27 million inhabitants, adopted a democratic constitution in 1992.
President Nana Addo has reiterated his commitment to protect the public purse. He also argued about 65% of his appointees are already in Parliament drawing salaries and the cost involved in turning them into ministers will be just a drop in the ocean.
“The number of deputy ministers, 42 out of 50 are all Parliamentarians. In effect, converting them from Parliamentarians into ministers, the marginal cost of that transformation is minimal in terms of its impact on the public exchequer.” Said the President
The President has been under intense criticism since the appointment. While some have argued that the decision will lead to bureaucracy, others believe that it will only worsen corruption and burden the public purse. But the President on says the unprecedented problems confronting Ghana demand a large government.
“We want a situation where political office holders are the first to recognize that they serve the public interest not their own personal interest. I have said it time again that those of my party in adherence, like-minded people, who think that coming into the public sector is going to be an avenue for making money are going to be disappointed. To the extent that my eyes and ears can see what is going to happen, I am not going to allow it to happen. For instance, as we sit today, in the record time, all the first appointments that I made have all declared their assets, all 36 Ministers have all declared and filed their assets with the Auditor General.”
President Akufo-Addo said that his government is dedicated to increasing the growth of the economy from 3.6% to 6% and reducing the deficit from some 9% to 6%.
Akufo-Addo who was elected last December, promising to cut expenditure and fight corruption, said the appointments were necessary.