By Eugene Davis
The minority in Parliament have asked President Nana Akufo-Addo to downsize its ministerial portfolios to reflect the austere and economic crisis the country is facing.
According to the minority, given the state of affairs with hyperinflation, cedi depreciation and biting cost of living warrant that the president re-aligns and merges some of the ministries to make it more effective and ensure cuts in expenditure.
Addressing the Parliamentary Press Corps at Parliament House on Monday, the minority leader, Dr. Ato Forson said Ghanaians had hoped that the seriousness of the economic situation would finally prompt a reduction in the size of government.
To this end, the minority is calling for the immediate reduction in the number of Ministers from 86 to 65, the merger of ministries [Information and Communication, Transport and Railways, Chieftaincy and Tourism, Sanitation and Local government].
They also called for the immediate reduction in the number of political appointees at the Office of the President as well as the immediate scrapping of all amorphous creations and waste-pipe, job-for-the-boys’ appointments since the assumption of office of President Akufo Addo in 2017.
Government announced six new ministerial nominees to replace the old ones who resigned and others reassigned respectively.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) directed its Minority members in Parliament to reject the new ministers appointed by President Akufo-Addo.
In a press release dated February 19, the party explained that this is to help push for the reduction in the size of the current government.
However, their leader in parliament, Dr. Ato Forson stated that they remain committed to ensuring greater scrutiny and will spare no effort to protect the public purse. “In line with this, we are taking part in the vetting process so that at the very minimum, we can scrutinize the President’s decision in bringing up those nominees.
The minority, however, will not subscribe to a consensus vote at the level of the Appointments Committee. This will ensure that the matter is brought before the full House for a vote to be taken in secret.”
The minority further alleges that in spite of mounting cost-of-living and economic crisis, government has added a whopping GHc82bn to its expenditure for 2023 compared to 2022.
They also claim that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government continues to engage in profligate spending; between January and September of 2022 (9 months) the presidency saddled Ghanaians with the following: the president’s ‘operational enhancement expenditure’ cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a mind-boggling GHc59.4m.
Fuel bills paid at the presidency within the 9-month period under review cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a colossal GHc51.1m.
Other allegations are that the President’s regional tours last cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a staggering Ghc16.9m, tyres and batteries for official vehicles cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer an unbelievable Ghc15m, among other allegations they raised.