The Minority in Parliament has called on President Akufo-Addo to reduce the number of his ministers from the current 86 to 65.
Addressing a news conference in Parliament yesterday, the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson said the president must merge ministries such as Information and Communication, Transport and Railways, Chieftaincy and Tourism, Sanitation and Local government to help cut down on the ministers.
The group 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.
The Dr Cassiel Ato Forson led minority also indicated that it will not subscribe to a consensus vote at the level of the Appointments Committee in relation to the ongoing vetting of ministers and deputy ministers designates.
The minority caucus said it will ensure that the decision on whether or not the nominees should be approved will be brought before the full House for a vote to be taken in secret.
The comment follows a press statement released by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) directing its Minority members in Parliament to reject the new ministers appointed by President Akufo-Addo.
It would be recalled that government announced six new ministerial nominees to replace the old ones who resigned and others reassigned respectively.
In the press release dated February 19, 2023 the NDC directed its members to reject the nominees, saying their goal is to ensure a reduction in the size of the current government.
According to Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority will go by the directives of the party stating that the caucus also wants the Akufo-Addo government to downsize its ministerial portfolios to reflect the economic crisis the country is facing.
According to the minority, given the state of affairs with hyper-inflation, cedi depreciation and biting cost of living, it was incumbent upon the president to re-align and merges some of the ministries to make it more effective and ensure cuts in expenditure.
He, however, said the minority 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 scrutinise the President’s decision in bringing up those nominees”.
The minority further alleged 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.
He claimed that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government continues to engage in profligate spending and that between January and September 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 raised.
Meanwhile, the Majority caucus has faulted the NDC for issuing the letter to its members not to vet the ministerial nominees.
According to the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the party’s conduct is a disrespect to Parliament, the Speaker and the constitution.
He also said it portrays that the minority members on the committee as incapable of taking sound decisions on their own.
He said the party is also trying to obstruct the work of the committee and parliament and that posterity will take it into account.
He called on the party to behave well if they want to be the choice of the people in the upcoming election because their action does not portray political maturity.