Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader
The minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in parliament yesterday raised serious concern over the huge size of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government and the economic implications for the nation. It chastised the president for religiously promising to protect the public purse but is doing otherwise.
According to the minority, from the way the government has begun with unrestrained expenditure through the unprecedented appointment of 110 ministers and splashing of public money on social parties for the president and his family, President Akufo-Addo should not be trusted with his campaign promise of religiously protecting the public purse.
The minority Members of Parliament (MPs) raised the concern during their assessment of the first 100 days of the NPP administration under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo -Addo
Leading a press conference which was held at the precincts of parliament yesterday, the deputy minority leader, James Klutse Avedzi, said it was totally unnecessary and a waste of public resources to create ministries such as the one in-charge Public Procurement, Ministries of Aviation, Railway Development, Regional Reorganisation and Information.
He said the office of the ministry of state in-charge of public procurement is not only completely unnecessary, but also very bizzare because there is an effective and functioning Public Procurement Authority (PPA) which has been established by an Act.
“The NDC government amended the Public Procurement Act to enhance its effectiveness so appointing a minister to be in-charge of public procurement amounts to nothing but elongating the long arm of red tapism which in itself becomes a potential avenue for corruption,” Mr Klutse Avedzi said, stressing that the creation of the ministry means the NPP government is intentionally centralizing key procurement decisions at the presidency for personal and partisan gains.
The minority also questioned the need to split the Ministry of Transport into three – Transport, Aviation and Railway Development – with accompanying ministers and their deputies.
Mr Avedzi, who is the MP for Ketu North, said under a merged ministry which had one minister and a deputy during the era of the NDC, a lot of achievements were chalked with massive rehabilitation of the Accra, Kumasi and Tamale airports as well as massive investment in the development of the Tema and Takoradi Harbours and a $300 million loan which was secured for railway development.
“No justification therefore exists for having three different ministries with six ministers to work in just one sector when more will not be achieved,” he note, stressing that this is a typical example of incompetence on the part of a party which claims to have the men and the women.
The deputy minority leader pointed out that it is also a waste of public funds to split the Ministry of Communications into information and communication, which are having two ministers and five deputy ministers as compared to the NDC’s regime, which had a combined ministry with one minister and two deputy ministers.
He said the Ministry of Business Development, Ministry of Special Initiatives, Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation could be merged into other ministries to avoid unnecessary pressure on the public purse.
“This elephant-sized government will translate into 110 bungalows, 110 saloon cars, 110 V8 Toyota Land Cruisers, 110 body guards and 220 police guards in their bungalows, which are a big drain on the public purse,” he pointed out.
The minority also spoke about the creeping acts of violence perpetrated by political vigilante groups such as Invincible Forces and the Delta Force, which are associated with the ruling NPP.
According to the minority MPs, President Akufo-Addo had not taken any step to stop these acts, citing the attack on a court by some members of Delta Force.
“Plainly speaking, the blame for the state of lawlessness afflicting the country must lie squarely with President Akufo-Addo because he is the one who encouraged the training of these thugs by South African mercenaries,” Mr Avedzi underscored.
He observed that the 100 days of the Akufo-Addo-led government has been 100 days of hardship, 100 days of broken promises, 100 days of deceit, 100 days of bribery and conflict of interest, 100 days of wasteful expenditure on Ghana at 60 celebrations, 100 days of terrorism by Invincible Forces and Delta Forces and 100 days of 110 ministers.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr