Minister of State designate for Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah, says President Akufo-Addo has taken steps to cut spending and reduce the country’s debt problem by scrapping some ministries established during his first administration.
These ministries, according to him, include Special Development Initiatives, Regional Reorganisation, Aviation, Zongo Development, and Monitoring and Evaluation.
It comes after the Minority in Parliament demanded that the number of ministers be reduced from 86 to 65 immediately, claiming that they would not support a consensus vote at the Appointments Committee, of which some of them are members.
When the Minister of State designate appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee yesterday, the NDC MPs pressed him on the matter and demanded that he urge the President to downsize his government.
In response, Mr. O.B. Amoah said that President Akufo-Addo had cut the number of his ministers from approximately 126 to 85, adding that the President is not standing by and doing nothing about it. “Sometimes, the statement becomes a bit sweeping.”
“And in any case, beyond that the government has cut down on everything for appointees, including MMDCEs who keep complaining that they wish they were exempted because of the level they are still pegged – 2017,” he submitted.
He added, “So it is not that the President is not aware of austerity or that nothing has not been done. Some may wish to do it in a different way or style.”
“We saw that we used to have, so rosy, six Ministers of State and the famous three wise men, but as the constitution says ‘the President shall appoint persons to help manage the state.’
“If at any point in time the President feels that he can manage us or run the state, sometimes, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially when you see that efforts have been made to cut down, and who knows, he may even still cut down,” he noted.
The nominee stated that he does not believe the number of appointees should be a major concern every time, saying, “Sometimes, you get the impression that some people wish we had only five ministers and all our problems in Ghana would be solved.”
“But we have never been in the shoes of the President. As I said, a lot has been done and a lot may still be done,” he added.
On elevation, Mr. Amoah said, “For those of us in Parliament, we literally take our salaries from Parliament and getting a higher position doesn’t mean that your status has changed as far as salaries or emoluments are concerned