Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo defends appointing an “elephant size” government of 110 ministers. He has since then come under fire, but hit back at his opponents saying it is ‘a necessary investment’ and that ‘it is not going to be a holiday’ for ministers, The Independent reports.
The appointment this week of 50 deputy ministers and four ministers of state in addition to the existing 56 roles make it a record for Ghana and the largest government since the country, of about 27 million inhabitants, adopted a democratic constitution in 1992.
“I’m aware that people are concerned about what they see as maybe the cost of this large government,” Akufo-Addo admitted in an interview on national television.
“It is a necessary investment to make for the rapid transformation of this country” he said and added that ministers “are coming to work, it is not going to be a holiday”.
Akufo-Addo was elected in December on a manifesto to fix a host of economic problems and fight corruption. But the opposition party is less convinced about the benefit of having such a big government.
“We’re confronted with an elephant size of government and Akufo-Addo has proven that he’s a politician rather than a president,” said Haruna Iddrisu, leader of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament.
Parliamentary sources told Reuters top government appointees receive monthly salaries of about $4,000 (£3,326) in addition to at least two cars, free fuel, a house, free utilities and personal protection.
“It’s a case of jobs for the boys,” said politics lecturer Geoffrey Molu, whose comment was echoed on social media and by commentators on Ghana’s radio and TV channels.
Government spokesman Nana Akomea said criticism would stop if the government delivers on its ambitious agenda.
Ghana is one of Africa’s most dynamic economies but its growth slowed down sharply in 2014 following a fiscal crisis. The UK has a total of 120 ministers for a population of about 65 millions.
Jean Baptiste Karegeya