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NPP MPs put President Nana Akufo-Addo in a fix

as public mounts pressure to downsize Govt

The demand by some New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) that Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta be removed from office has triggered fresh pressure on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to also add reduction in the size of government.

Ever since the MPs held a press conference calling for the removal of Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen, the chorus that followed on radio, TV, and general public discourse is that the president should also use the opportunity to further downsize government.

This time, the pressure on the president to downsize the government is at an all-time high due to the current economic crisis.

The Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana, Prof. Peter Quartey, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Prof. Godfred Bokpin and a former Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Prof. Stephen Adei, are among leading voices asking President Akufo-Addo to further downsize government.

Some analysts say that merely replacing Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen is not the magic wand to solve the country’s economic problems because the crisis is being caused by exogenous factors.

Biting rising cost of living

In view of this, even a section of NPP members think downsizing the government at this time can tame the rising anger among the public over the biting rising cost of living.

Ofori-Atta, Adu Boahene could exit govt

Information making the rounds which we could not independently verify indicates that Ofori Atta could choose to exit government to satisfy the MPs who made the demand to reduce tension and possible rift in the party.

It is not clear whether this is being expressed only as a possibility or a probability.

Downsizing of govt highly expected

In the same light, it is highly expected of the president to also heed calls to downsize government to reflect current economic difficulties.

Any downsize of govt to sweep away many Deputy Ministers

Insiders say in the event that the president choses to further downsize government, he is likely to reduce drastically the number of Deputy Ministers, many of whom are MPs and their contribution to policy-making or execution is deemed by many as not that significant.

President under pressure to sacrifice his loyalty to appointees

The view is that it is time for the President to sacrifice his loyalty to his appointees for the common good of the country.

Downsize of govt to save resources

Several analysts have made the point that downsizing government will save the country some resources because every cedi counts.

Downsize will demonstrate realistic measures

They argue that the President should reduce the size of government as a way of signaling to Ghanaians that he is indeed serious when he frankly acknowledged that the country is in crisis.

Downsize as internal austerity measures

Significantly reducing the size of government is mooted as part of the internal austerity measures needed in the midst of current economic crisis.

Minister reduced from 126 to 80 in 2nd term

It is worthy to note that following persistent complaints about the big size of government in the first term, President Akufo-Addo abolished seven ministries in his second term reducing the number of ministers from 126 to 80 in his second term.

7 Ministries scrapped

These are the Ministries of Aviation, Business Development, Inner City and Zongo Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Planning, Regional Re-organisation and Development, and Special Development Initiatives.

Special-purpose Ministries

According to the president, the seven ministries were abolished because virtually all these special-purpose Ministries have achieved the purposes for which they were established.

President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that per the huge problems facing the country at the time, he needed more capable hands to fix them and thus did not see his government’s size in the first term as being that big.

Other ministries can be merged or scrapped

It has been argued that some other ministries can also be merged or scrapped completely.

For example, the Ministry of Railways Development can become a department under the Transport Ministry.

In the same vein, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture can become a department under Ministry of food and Agriculture.

Some people propose that Ministries of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Sanitation and Water Resources, Parliamentary Affairs be scrapped entirely.

Other agencies proposed to be scrapped

Others also believe that Development Authorities and some agencies can be scrapped to save resources.

Some countries using less than 40 Ministers

Japan used to run the world’s third largest economy with 17 ministers. UK has less than 30 Ministers and the US has less than 40 ministers.

Similarly, African peers like South Africa and Senegal have less than 40 ministers.

Number of Ministers appointed by each President in 4th Republic

The number of ministers appointed by presidents in the fourth republic is; President Jerry Rawlings-82 Ministers, John Agyekum Kufour-88 ministers, President John Evans Atta Mills-75 Ministers, President John Mahama-over 90 Ministers, President Akufo-Addo-120 ministers in the first term and that has been reduced to 80.

Ministries may not be scrapped

Per the information making the rounds, the president may not scrap nor merge any of the ministries.

Rather, President Nana Akufo-Addo is likely to conduct the downsizing by sending some Deputy Ministers home especially in ministries with more than one Deputy Minister.

The NPP MPs want Mr Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen, a Minister of State at the Finance Ministry dismissed but after a meeting with President Nana Akufo-Addo it was agreed that the dismissal is put on hold till the two complete some important national assignments.

They are to continue to superintend over negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and securing a deal.

They will also complete the preparation of the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy for 2023 which Ofori-Atta will present to parliament next month.

Appropriations Bill

The Finance Minister will also supervise the passage of the Appropriations Bill.






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