President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sworn in four more ministers of state, with a call on them to respect the collective commitment of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and for that matter his government, to provide honest and competent government for the people of Ghana.
“I am certain the four will be good team players who will respect the collective commitment that we in the NPP have made to provide honest and competent government for the people of Ghana. The people of Ghana deserve no less,” he said.
The four are the Minister of State responsible for Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah; a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Gyeile Nurah, who goes to the Agriculture Ministry; a Minister of State with oversight for Public Procurement, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, and Mr Brian Acheampong, whose duties at the Presidency, according to the President, would be political.
Speaking prior to the swearing-in, the President recounted that on February 10, 2017, he had sworn the third and final batch of full ministers of the central government into office, saying their roles and functions had been clearly defined.
Two critical ministries
“I subsequently decided that in two of the critical ministries, Education and Agriculture, I needed additional talents to ensure the success of those important departments of state,” he said.
The President explained that the Ministry of Education was one of the largest in the state machinery, as it dealt with all aspects of the country’s educational structure, from kindergarten to the tertiary level.
He was, however, quick to add that each level had its own preoccupations, especially the tertiary stage.
He said his predecessors had found it necessary to appoint persons to have responsibility for that specific level within the overall structure of the Ministry of Education.
“The resolution of the issues and challenges of that part of the educational establishment is absolutely essential for the health of our educational system and thereby the health of our nation. That is why I have also carried on with that particular tradition,” he said.
Reviving the agric sector
By the same token, he said, it was necessary to strengthen the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, saying it was obvious that a successful agricultural sector made for a successful economy.
“Unfortunately, it is the sector that has, in recent times, suffered consistent decline,” the President observed.
He said an energetic and knowledgeable minister had been appointed to mastermind its revival, to be ably supported by dynamic deputy ministers who were equally knowledgeable.
“The missing link is the presence at the centre of the ministry of an experienced, politically astute administrator of the agricultural sector who can complement the work of the minister, and that is made up for with the appointment of Dr Nurah,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said one of the most controversial and perhaps most costly of the country’s public engagements over the last few years had been the administration of the law on public procurement.
He said there were strong grounds for the proposition that there had been much abuse of the law than its observance.
It had been established elsewhere, he said, that a person of a ministerial rank with oversight responsibility for the operation of the procurement law could help ensure not only its observance but also its effectiveness.
The President said it was not the minister’s business to interfere in the administration of the law but to keep the President fully briefed on its workings.
“We want to ensure that sole sourcing is confined to exceptional circumstances provided for in the law and that competitive bidding is the normal principle in all public transactions,” he added.
Thankfully, the President said, he had chosen one of the rising young stars of the party, Ms Safo, who had a deep acquaintance with procurement issues to handle that important assignment.
The President described Mr Acheampong as a dynamic personality and very successful entrepreneur who would work to help the government to succeed.