Ministers should have 5 experts – Prof Adei

BY: Graphic.com.gh

The outspoken academician, Professor Stephen Adei has said ministers of state should be allowed to have five experts whom they will go with when leaving office.

The Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) has raised concerns that many of their members have been sidelined by ministers, municipal and district chief executives who are using political appointees and special assistants.

They claim the politicians are interfering with their work and taking over their jobs to the extent that some special assistants have illegally assumed "certain uncontrollable powers" and that staff who refuse to kowtow to "dubious directives" are pushed out of office.

But speaking at the Accra Dialogue Series, the former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Prof Stephen Adei said there should be clear lines on the roles of special assistants to help curb the protest by CLOGSAG.

“A typical minister who come should be allowed to come with about five experts whom he will go with, but then, they will come and work with bureaucracy.”

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Adding he said: “The question is that, is the Minister going to sit down every day to explain what he wants to do, he can’t, somebody must interface. I believe that assuming we have… one of the largest ministerial appointments in our history [like the one] by Akufo-Addo of 110 [ministers], they will commit further.

Prof Adei insisted each one of them, the 35 [Akufo-Addo substantive ministers should] have five experts, not political appointees.

He said a large number of about 150 to 200 people as experts shouldn't be a problem and that "if the Ghana Civil Service of 400,000 there about cannot accommodate a president’s team of about 250 [not the president’s office alone, then], I think that we are saying that, you go for your election."

Related story998 Staffers: Numbers don’t matter – Stephen Adei 

Already, when the issue of the over 900 staffers at the presidency [Jubilee House] came up for public discussion, Prof Adei urged Ghanaians to concern themselves with the input and output of the number of staffers rather than the large number.

He insisted the number is not as important as the value that will be derived from them.

“On the surface, almost 1000 presidential staffers seems too big. The big questions is, what are they doing? In these things, the numbers per se are not the most important because it’s about input and output. The line of interrogation should be what the number of staffers are producing and not just talk about the numbers. I think Ghanaians must demand accountability,”

In agreeing with Prof Adei, a former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani said government cannot run away from appointing people outside the civil service.

“If even a president decides to bring in only advisors from outside, these advisors need the civil service to help him to perform very well and therefore it is very important for us to have an efficient civil service, a civil service that is politically neutral," Mr Mpiani said.