Let’s maintain 65 ministers in govt — Haruna Iddrisu

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem & Chris Nunoo

The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has proposed that a maximum of 65 ministers must be the acceptable size of government in the country.

That, he said, must be backed by legislation, with support from two-thirds of Members of Parliament (MPs).

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Mr Iddrisu made the proposal when he addressed the launch of the National Public Sector Reform Strategy (NPSRS 2018-2013) in Accra on Wednesday.

 Occasion

The strategy, which was launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was on the theme: “Delivering for citizens and the private sector”.


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It was attended by Ministers of State, MPs, traditional rulers and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

“Mr President, I cannot assume my seat without provoking at least one little political controversy, and that is the size of government. We need, as a country, to take a collective, conscientious position on the size of government in Ghana and it should be by legislation, supported by two-thirds of Parliament, so that at no point again in the country’s history will we accept ministers exceeding 65, and it should run for all governments and all Presidents,” Mr Iddrisu said.

 Size of government

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Breaking the number of ministers down mathematically per his proposal, he explained that “if you take the decentralised provisions of the Constitution, regional ministers and deputy ministers multiplied by two give you 20”.

“Cabinet ministers, under articles 78 and 79, not exceeding 21, with your good self and the Vice-President also give you 42, making a total of 62 ministers of state, with the President having the opportunity to appoint three other ministers in line with his policy objective,” Mr Iddrisu added.

He urged President Akufo-Addo to ponder over the proposal as “we move forward as a country”.

The Minority Leader pledged the support of the Minority in Parliament to the reform process which, he said, would reform the bureaucracy of the country to meet the needs of the people.

 He said a measurement of the private sector of the country would give a worrying trajectory because there were businesses that thrived under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and others that did well under the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Mr Iddrisu wondered if “the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the Ghana Police Service and the Civil Service are mindful of the fact that they are the points of contact to foreigners entering the country, whether the police respect the dignity of all citizens in their quest to combat crime and whether there are civil and public services that deliver to every Ghanaian and not a section of the citizens”.

“We need to correct this and, Mr President, we will support you to correct it. We need civil and public services that are neutral,” he added.

Presentation

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Sector Reforms, Mr Thomas Kusi Boafo, in a powerpoint presentation, took the gathering through the history of reforms in the public sector, as well as the principles and the underlying strategies.

He described the public sector as a critical agency which facilitated the country’s development agenda and said Ghana’s public sector consisted of the government and all publicly controlled or funded agencies, enterprises and other entities that delivered public programmes, goods and services.

He attributed the inability of past reform initiatives to achieve the intended objectives to, among other factors, the lack of a comprehensive strategic framework for public sector reforms, poor coordination among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), poor working conditions and the issue of the sustainability of reform implementation.