The president of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, has described as saddening frantic efforts by government officials to justify the staggering 998 staff at the Jubilee House.
The number is some 220 staff more than the 778 employees presented to parliament by the erstwhile John Mahama administration in 2013.
According to the report released to Parliament on the staffing position of the Office of the President for the period January 7, 2017 to December 31, 2017, the office had nine Ministers of State, 27 presidential staffers, 256 Junior Political Appointees and 706 civil and public servants.
Dr. Kwasi Aning has bemoaned the partisan politics that shrouded discussions on Ghana’s military pact with the United States of America.
In his first public commentary on the matter, the security analyst said the politics around the deal has, to some extent, exposed Ghana to terrorism.
“People in high office deliberately leaked sensitive information around these agreements and by doing so without placing the interest of Ghana and Ghanaians at the centre of these discussions, have exposed all of us to new threats because Islamic State (I.S.) in the West African Province now says: ‘Oh, so, Ghana, you created a platform for the U.S. to launch attacks against us.
National Democratic Congress [NDC] MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, claims the number of persons said to be working under the Presidency has been understated.
According to him, the number may increase from 998 to 1,697.
“There are many more names we know that are not on the list. He has budgeted for 1,697 this year. So the 998 which we are all outraged about is not even the end. He hopes to get to 1967 in 2018,” Mr. Ablakwa said on Eyewitness News.
Vice President Alhaji Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia has said that government is committed in providing every constituency in Ghana one ambulance.
He said they have started the process to purchase 275 ambulances this year to bolster healthcare in the country.
Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi-Bosiako has revealed that some top five (5) NDC officials are guilty of receiving of double salaries while in office.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has ignited a strong reminder campaign in the north targeted at Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to come out clear as to when the dams promised all villages in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions will be due for construction.
Dr. Bawumia, a major face of the 2016 election campaign for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has remained a policy guarantor who has continued to give hope to the north, after the NPP recaptured power 16 months ago, that the dams will be delivered as promised before the 2016 polls.
But the NDC, unenthused about the reassurances the NPP government has given Ghanaians so far, claims the Vice President has been “hopelessly inconsistent” with time frame and figures relative to the promised dams.
President of IMANI Ghana is questioning the competence of some 256 junior political officers government has appointed in a list of 998 workers at the presidency submitted to Parliament.
But for their competencies exhibited on Facebook, mostly to make noise, Franklin Cudjoe says it is difficult to understand how they ended up as junior appointees.
"I don’t know whether it was job for the boys,” he suggested.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, has indicated that the election of municipal, metropolitan and district chief executives (MMDCEs) will come off in 2021.
She said this when she shared a tentative timetable of the activities of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) towards the election of MMDCEs at a round-table discussion organised by the Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA) and the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee (IMCC).
The round-table was on the topic, “Election of MMDCEs in Ghana: How do we operate a decentralised governance system with an elected MMDCE on partisan basis?”
Outspoken academician Professor Stephen Adei has urged Ghanaians to concern themselves with the input and output of the number of staffers at the Jubilee House – seat of government- rather than the large number.
The tall list of Presidential staffers has angered most Ghanaians with many accusing the President and his government of deceit after the NPP complained about the 768 staffers which was maintained by the Mahama administration.
Although some government spokespersons have tried to justify the numbers and attributed the situation to the thick number of civil servants left by the erstwhile Mahama administration, the explanation has failed to suffice. Some notable civil society groups including IMANI Ghana have criticized the numbers saying it is a drain on the national purse.
The Information Minister, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid thinks that the number of staffers at the Presidency should not be a matter of concern but a commitment to protect the public purse should be the issue.
According to him, in 2017 for instance, the budget for government machinery was Gh₵1.5 billion under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as against President John Mahama’s Gh₵3 billion in 2016, with a lesser staff numbers at the Presidency.
To him, “it is possible for two people presiding over a nation to squander its resources as opposed to a 100 people who are more prudent and more committed to saving the national purse.”
A former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has said that President Akufo-Addo is not as concerned about the size of his government as he is about the effective delivery of government’s development agenda.
The government has come under intense criticism and pressure after it was revealed that it had 998 staff working at the presidency alone, 200 more than what the previous John Mahama government had.
Vice Chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Alexander Abban, believes there is a need for President Nana Akufo-Addo to reduce the size of his government, which includes a record 110 Ministers.
Mr. Abban, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Gomoa West, said he hopes moves in this regard will be made if and when the President decides to reshuffle his government.