The release of the first batch of ministers announced yesterday by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should signal to Ghanaians that the new occupant of Government House means business. It has taken the new President only two days of work to name his first batch of ministers. We commend him for that.
The calibre of personalities named yesterday, tells much about how this administration means business. There is 'Oyeadieyie' Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who is going to lead the ministerial team as Senior Minister, an innovation pioneered in local politics by the Kufuor administration.
A financial guru in his own right, Mr. Osafo-Maafo is credited with leading this country into the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, and reaching the completion point in a record time of two and a half years. His rich experience would be needed to complement that of world-renowned financial guru Ken Ofori-Atta, Co-Founder of Data Bank, as Finance Minister.
With Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, one-time Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, heading the Government's Economic Management Team, there is every assurance that these three technocrats could pull their knowledge together to get Ghana out of the economic woods.
The average Ghanaian is aware that the National Democratic Congress left this nation a huge debt. But the disclosure yesterday, that the Mahama administration left a debt profile of 72 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) is alarming. There is a serious job to do. But the triumvirate of Bawumia, Osafo-Maafo and Ken Ofori-Atta, leading from the front, gives this nation hope for revival.
All the President's men and women announced for various ministries are people of integrity. The Member of Parliament for Manhyia North, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, for Education, is expected to shake the Education Ministry and lead the reforms that would introduce Nana Addo's much touted fee-free education, from basic to second cycle level, for the mean time.
There were a few murmurs when Mr. Dominic Nitiwul, immediate past Deputy Minority Leader, was named to head the Defence portfolio. It is a very challenging task for the young man. But many are those who hold the view that the young man has demonstrated in Parliament over the period, that he is capable of leading from the front and curb any disquiet in the barracks.
Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu made hay while the sun was shining as Chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee. Many believe his background in accounts and finance would serve him well to lead the restructuring exercise at the Ministry of Health. So is the choice of Mr. Ambrose Dery, one-time Upper West Regional Minister, to head the Interior Ministry. He is a tried and tested lawyer and a seasoned politician.
The three women – Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Alima Mahama, Local Government and Gloria Akuffo (Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice) – are proven personalities in their various fields. As The Chronicle pointed out the other day, there is a bit of disquiet over the choice of Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, one-time Energy and Defence Minister, to control the security portfolio, as a result of the small matter of the cocaine which turned into cassava flour during his tenure as Minister for the Interior.
The Chronicle would like to believe that the new Interior Minister would take the lessons learned from that episode to his new job.
On the whole, Ghanaians cannot be disappointed with the list of the first batch of ministers announced yesterday. – The men and women available to the President to choose from makes selection a very difficult task.
The Chronicle would like to believe that the criteria used in arriving at the first batch of ministers would serve the President well, as he picks from the long list of qualified applicants to fill the other ministerial vacancies.
We urge Parliament to expedite action in getting the Parliamentary Appointments Committee in place, in time to begin the task of vetting our ministers to begin work immediately. The people of Ghana are yearning for the kind of change promised by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party on the campaign trail.
There is serious job to do. The urgent matter of dealing with the 72 per cent debt to GDP ratio bequeathed to this country by the bungling administration of the NDC, calls for urgent action.