Like a great number of Ghanaians, we at OCCUPYGHANA® look with great concern at the number of ministerial appointments that the President has made to date. As of 16 March 2017, there were 110 ministerial appointments.
We are aware of the plans of the new administration to enact significant changes to the way the business of government is done, in enacting its vision to help this nation develop. We are also aware that some of these changes require the requisite manpower to achieve success.
We are however concerned at the apparent overlap in the portfolios of a number of ministers, and at the number of deputies named for several ministries.
It is our firm view that a government bureaucracy must be big enough to achieve the aims of the governing administration, yet lean enough to not waste the resources of state. Both the President in his State of the Nation Address, and the Minister of Finance in his budget presentation, lamented the dire state of the nation’s economy. Can Ghana with its present economic situation afford 110 ministers? Can we not do more with less?
The problems that beset this nation are known to all. Paramount among them is the issue of corruption. In creating such a huge bureaucracy, have we not increased the chances of corrupt officials plundering the little that we have left as a nation?
In his inaugural address, the President promised to protect the national purse. The appointment of 110 ministers who, in comparison to the average Ghanaian, will be earning a considerable amount of money in salaries, allowances and benefits over the next 4 years (in addition to enjoying a range of ex-gratia benefits when they leave office) does not sound to us like a diligent attempt to protect a sorely-depleted purse.
The economy of this great nation can only grow if we let the private sector flourish. Large bureaucracies are not known to facilitate the growth of any private business sector. Do we not run the risk of crowding out and suffocating a struggling private sector with a gargantuan government bureaucracy?
We therefore call on the President to reconsider the size of his ministerial appointments. Are there positions that may be consolidated? Do the ministers with several deputies really need that very many? Do we still need deputy regional ministers when there are district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives?
Additionally, as part of the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation’s duties, a set of key performance indicators (“KPIs”) should be urgently developed for each ministerial position, published on the ministerial website, and assessed by the President, Vice President and Minister for M&E on an annual or preferably biannual basis. Such KPIs must be designed to ensure there is no overlap of duties so as to duplicate responsibilities between ministers. The government should commit to dismissing any ministers who are found wanting under such an assessment scheme, and to a constant and robust evaluation of the effectiveness of ministers and ministries. The breadth of skills and experience from the private sector that have been introduced by this government should mean that many in the ministerial ranks adapt easily and perform well under such accountability.
It is going to take all citizens working together and harnessing our creativity and skills to move our dear nation forward. In doing so, in current financially constrained circumstances, we must find a way to do more with less. Bigger is not always better. In this case, bigger might in fact be wasteful and corruption-inducing.
As always, for God and Country.