Appointment of deputy regional ministers irrelevant – Governance Expert

A local Governance Expert has taken a swipe at the Government for the appointment of deputy regional ministers describing it as irrelevant.

He said the size of the current government would definitely have some implications on the public purse and, therefore, repeated the call for the enactment of a law to put a cap on the number of ministers any president could appoint.

However, he asked Ghanaians to do a cost benefit analysis of the size of successive governments to ascertain whether the number of ministers appointed benefited the nation or drained the public purse.

Dr Eric Oduro-Osae, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Thursday on the 110 ministers appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

He said there must be indicators to analyse the benefits derived by the country as against the size of government.

He said: “We shouldn’t talk about absolute numbers only, but also analyse whether the number of ministers appointed by any particular government delivered on its mandate and met the expectations of the people”.

According to him, the President could not be faulted for appointing many ministers because Article 78 and 79 of the 1992 Constitution permitted him to appoint as many ministers as he wanted since there was no law restricting him.

Commenting on the law that allowed the President to appoint majority of his ministers from Parliament, he said there was the need to scrap that law since it was weakening Parliament as an institution.

He said the legislative arm of government was supposed to serve as a check on the executive, therefore, if the Members of Parliament (MPs) were appointed into Government, it weakened the debate on the floor of the House and also made the executive ”superpower”.

”If the minister is an MP then it’s a double jeopardy because he/she will not be in Parliament often to contribute to debate, and also weakened his/her performance at the constituency level,” he said.

On Wednesday, March 15, President Akufo-Addo, through the Minister of Information, Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, announced four ministers of state and 50 deputy ministers thus, adding to the already appointed ministers and deputy regional ministers, brings the number to 110.

The issue had sparked wide public debate with some arguing that the size of government would be a burden on the public purse while others insist that the President needed that number of ministers to deliver on the campaign promises.

According to political pundits, the number is the highest ever since the country entered into constitutional government in 1992.

The pundits indicate that former President Jerry John Rawlings’ Government appointed 83 ministers, President John Agyekum Kufuor had 84 and later increased to 93, while President John Evans Atta-Mills had 75 and President John Dramani Mahama had 85.

Source: Ghana News Agency