The Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to consider having a lean government in his second term.
He said having a lean government would cut down expenditure cost and force efficiency through hard work.
Dr Antwi-Danso made the appeal in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.
He said the previous Akufo-Addo Administration had about 110 ministers just because of the type of agenda they put in place to execute; saying they needed all those ministers in order to fulfil that agenda.
However, upon the creation of the new 16 regions, additional regional ministers and their deputies were also appointed by the President in 2019.
Article 76 (1) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates: "There shall be a Cabinet, which shall consist of the President, the Vice-President and not less than 10 and not more than 19 Ministers of State."
But Dr Antwi-Danso explained that although the constitution required there should not be more than 19 cabinet ministers, beyond that the President could appoint additional ministers (who were not cabinet members) depending on his (President’s) agenda.
He said it was always very difficult to advise the government on the number of ministers but a little twig at political science would show that the larger the number of ministers; the more government spending, the more there would be duplication of functions and the more there would be bureaucracy.
"And so, always many intellectuals have advocated for a lean government; a lean government meaning having a small cabinet/a smaller number of ministers but that is the ideal," he said.
Dr Antwi-Danso noted that ministries such as Railways could be merged with other ministries now to have one ministry for many of them.
"Depending on the agenda of the government, I expect the next ministries to be smaller than we had in the previous government," he said.
He suggested that the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Roads and Highways, and all those allied in infrastructure would be put into one ministry and called Ministry of Roads and Highways or Ministry of Infrastructure and added that it would only cause the minister and his deputy to work harder than maybe if they were split apart.
Dr Antwi-Danso said the only thing which was debilitating by the constitution was that the President must appoint majority of his ministers from Parliament; adding that "and that is debilitating enough, he is a Parliamentarian, he is a minister and all kinds of things".
"And so, maybe at times we have to spread it and that makes the ministries a little bit larger. But by and large we are learning from our experiences," he added.
He recalled that then Presidential Candidate John Agyekum Kufuor castigated his predecessor for having a larger government of about 80 ministers, but when he came into office, he saw that he needed more, and subsequently apologised to the nation.
He noted that depending on the agenda of President Akufo-Addo in his second term, Ghanaians would soon see the number of ministers he would be appointing; declaring that "but I am not expecting very large ministries this time".
He maintained that a leaner government was ideal but where there was a pinpointed kind of necessity to create ministries for the execution of a certain agenda, then Ghanaians would have to allow the government to do that.