The Minority Caucus in Parliament led by its leadership is calling for the immediate reduction in the number of Ministers from the current 86 to 65.
The Ato Forson-led caucus is also urging President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to merge some Ministries to bring the number of Ministers down as the country is currently experiencing economic turbulence.
The caucus explained in a news conference in Parliament that ministries such as Information and Communication should be merged.
“The following ministries should also be merged; Transport and Railways, Chieftaincy and Tourism, Sanitation and Local government among others,” he said.
The group is again asking for the immediate reduction in the number of political appointees at the Office of the President as well as the immediate scrapping of all amorphous creations and waste-pipe, job-for-the-boys’ appointments since the assumption of office of President Akufo-Addo in 2017.
According to the minority, the work of those undefined, amorphous creations must revert to established entities in the civil and public service that perform similar, if not the same functions.
Read full details of the caucus’ statement addressed to the press earlier today:
PRESS BRIEFING ON THE POSITION OF THE NDC MINORITY ON THE PRESIDENT’S MINISTERIAL NOMINEES.
Good morning to you, our media friends.
We thank you for attending to us once again and at such short notice.
Ghana is currently going through the worst economic times in our history.
Six years of economic mismanagement by the Akufo-Addo/ Bawumia NPP government has rendered life unbearable, in fact, almost impossible, for millions of Ghanaians who struggle daily to make ends meet. Many people struggle to afford even one meal a day. The situation in respect of feeding in Senior High Schools across the country is even more disturbing.
We are burdened with unsustainable debt.
Currently, standing at over GHS 600 billion representing about 103% of our GDP, this is the highest level of indebtedness in the 4th Republic.
Inflation is galloping at hyper levels, and we are confronted with daily price increases beyond the reach of the majority of our people.
Interest rates have sky-rocketed, and our currency has been in a free-fall counting among the worst performing in the world. Since the beginning of this year alone it has fallen by about 20%.
The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has amid this economic disaster essentially withheld interest and principal payments to millions of bondholders under a crude Debt Restructuring Program.
Pensioners who depend on the little they get from bond proceeds have been compelled in an unprecedented move, to stage public protest against the callous attempt to shortchange them after decades of devoted service to our country.
17 banks and over 80% of insurance companies may be on the verge of collapse because of this ill-conceived Debt Restructuring Programme.
Let us be very clear that all this suffering and pain is because of the gross economic mismanagement by President Akufo- Addo, Alhaji Bawumia and Ken Ofori-Atta in whose hands we entrusted the public purse
In the midst of our economic crisis of such magnitude, conventional wisdom teaches us that a responsible government must take basic steps and cut its coat according to its size, so its behaviour must reflect the terrible times.
Regrettably, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has carried on as usual, as though there is nothing at stake and continues to add to the plight of the people with reckless abandon.
At a time when they are unable to meet basic obligations such as interest and debt repayment owed to creditors including pensioners, they continue to do the very same things that brought us to this disastrous juncture.
In Unison, Ghanaians have called for a reduction in the size of the government, which is a major guzzler of public funds.
The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government is doing the exact opposite of the reasonable, common-sense approach needed to reverse the horrific decline of our economy and its corresponding effect on the quality of life of Ghanaians.
Even as they promise the deprivation of pensioners and millions of bondholders of monies due them on a narrative of burden-sharing, President Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Bawumia continue to act in ways that clearly show that they are unprepared to even shoulder responsibility for the destruction of our economy.
Indeed, instead of serious and impactful cuts in government expenditure, more expense continues to be added to the burden of the taxpayer.
It is unconscionable to note that, Government has added a whopping GHS82billion to its expenditure for 2023 compared to 2022
It is most shocking that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government continues to engage in profligate spending. Between January and September of 2022 (9-months) the presidency saddled Ghanaians with the following:
1)The President’s “operational enhancement expenditure” cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a mind-boggling GHS59.4million (59,486,108.91);
2) The fuel bills paid at the presidency within the 9-month period under review cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a colossal GHS51.1 million. (51,109,137.86). Empirical analysis conducted reveals that the government failed abysmally in its promise to slash fuel expenditure by 50%;
3) President Akufo-Addo’s regional tours last year cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a staggering GHS16.9million (16,906,272.45);
4) Tyres and Batteries for official vehicles cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer an unbelievable GHS15million (15,000,000.00);
5) The last Cabinet Retreat cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a whopping GHS4.8million (4,800,000.00);
6) Payment for new vehicles cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer GHS6.5million (6,500,000.00) — this is particularly distressing considering Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta’s announcement of a ban on imported official vehicles in March last year;
7) Payment for Networking and ICT Equipment cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer an impressive GHS6.6million (6,600,000.00);
8)An additional expenditure on Office Equipment/Furniture and Fittings cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a fantastic GHS7.07million (7,070,315.28);
9) Telecommunications and Internet Services from January to September alone cost the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer a shocking GHS20million (20,000,000.00);
10) Vice President Alhaji Bawumia is equally complicit. “URGENT AND OTHER EMERGENCY ACTIVITIES.” For January to September 2022 alone amounted to a whopping GHS4.05 million (4,050,227.18) of taxpayer funds from suffering Ghanaians.
Ghanaians had hoped that the seriousness of the economic situation would finally prompt a reduction in the size of government and that President Akufo-Addo will see the wisdom in getting rid of the deadwood in his government which have nothing to offer our country.
In the circumstances, while this insensitive government is refusing to act responsibly to contain the looming economic disaster, we in the Minority will faithfully discharge our duty to Ghanaians.
REJECTION OF ALL MINISTERIAL NOMINEES
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
A couple of weeks ago, the President announced the names of nominees for Ministerial appointments. The vetting commenced this morning.
We in the Minority wish to make it clear that we remain committed to ensuring greater scrutiny and will spare no effort to protect the public purse. In line with this, we are taking part in the vetting process so that at the very minimum, we can scrutinize the President’s decision in bringing up those nominees.
However, the Minority will not subscribe to a consensus vote at the level of the Appointments Committee.
This will ensure that the matter is brought before the full House for a vote to be taken in secret.
We are calling for the following:
- The immediate reduction in the number of Ministers from the current 86 to 65
- The merger of Ministries. For example,
i. Information and Communication
ii. Transport and Railways
iii. Chieftaincy and Tourism
iv. Sanitation and Local government
3. The immediate reduction in the number of political appointees at the Office of the President.
- Immediate scrapping of all amorphous creations and waste-pipe, job-for-the-boys’ appointments since the assumption of office of President Akufo Addo in 2017. The work of those undefined, amorphous creations must revert to established entities in the civil and public service that perform similar, if not the same functions.
Some of these bizarre portfolios at the office of the president are:
Youth Ambassador for Diaspora Affairs
- Policy Associate
- Chief Executive of Public Sector Reforms
- Overseer of the National Cathedral
- Church Relations Manager
- Diaspora Church Mobilization Officer
- Policy & Coordinator Analyst
- Focal Person, La Francophonie
- Technical Director, La Francophonie
- Coordinator, Special Development Initiatives Secretariat
- Director of Special Projects
- Manager of Operations & Programs
- 5 Technical Communications Assistants
- Technical Advisor, Zongo Development Authority
- 2 Technical Advisors, Special Development
- Technical Advisor, Political Affairs
- Presidential Staffer, NABCO
- Office Management Executive Associate
- Technical Director to the Presidential Advisor on
- Data Manager
- Finally, we reiterate our call for the dismissal of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta whose gross incompetence in managing our economy has assumed legendary status. The President must spare Ghanaians the agony of waking up tomorrow to see Ken Ofori-Atta still in charge of the economy.
We thank you for your kind attention.