Change has many forms but on the African political scene, it’s been characterised by new leadership, transitory governments and promises to root out corruption – a new dawn on the same horizon.
However in Ghana the story of “change” might just be a game of numbers as the president, Nana Akufo-Addo who won the elections of December 2016, just unveiled the largest set of ministers the country has ever had and he’s defending it.
Akufo-Addo, who has promised to cut down on government spending, has been severely criticised for the move and rightly so. Many portfolios translate into several budgets for ministries and parastatals alike, as each would claim to be working in the interest of the Ghanaian citizens.
The president is calling the appointment of 50 deputy ministers and four ministers of state in addition to the existing 56 ministers on ground “a necessary investment” for its population of about 27 million.
The opposition is less concerned with the way Akufo-Addo is interested in dressing up the appointments because of the estimated costs and impending inefficiency that could follow. The debate on what the future holds has been trending on social media and has slipped more in a negative direction.
Well, the president is running with the rhetoric that the enormity of the size of the problems Ghana is facing requires a large cabinet. But that argument flies out of the door in the face of the fact that more than having a large cabinet of ministers, what is really needed is efficiency, service, skill and the discipline to move Ghana forward.
Chloe Farand of The Independent writes that parliamentary sources told Reuters top government appointees receive monthly salaries of about $4,000 (approximately 1,780,000 naira) in addition to at least two cars, free fuel, a house, free utilities and personal protection – this was echoed in a tweet which highlights that “salaries alone will be around 60% of the budget of six infrastructure-related ministries.”
Meanwhile, Ghana just appointed 110 ministers. Salaries alone will be around 60% of the budget of six infrastructure-related ministries.
— J Toyo (@Gidimeister) March 16, 2017
Well, if the ministers are able to deliver on the promises of Mr Nana Akufo-Addo, then maybe, just maybe, the criticism would dip in favour of the president, but if, not Ghanaians might not be so enthusiastic about any of the president’s future plans.
With the addition of new ministers, the ministry of agriculture now has a minister, a minister of state and three deputies, a characteristic that has been mirrored across the ministerial landscape in Ghana.
The country has 35 sector ministries, 10 regional ministries and a series of parastatals.