A lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, has called for a maximum of 50 ministers to form the government.
Prof. Gyampo explained that the figure should include their deputies.
Under previous governments, ministerial appointments were in the range of over 80 ministers and their deputies.
He said a larger number of ministers, as was the case in previous governments, was a recipe for duplication of roles and a drain on public resources, a development that was inimical to socio-economic development.
“For me, I think it is important for the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to form an optimum-size government of not more than 50 ministers. This is because a huge government is a drain on scarce public resources.
“We should not be seeing a case of creating ‘jobs for the boys’ because the margin of victory in the 2016 elections shows the goodwill of the masses for the President. So care must be taken in order not to erode the confidence of the people,” he added.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic yesterday in the wake of the release of the first batch of 13 ministerial nominees by President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra, Prof. Gyampo said the re-introduction of the Senior Minister portfolio was unnecessary and counter-productive.
He observed that it would be prudent for the President to tackle the challenges of the country head-on and avoid the tendency to “use those challenges as a cloak or cover up for under-performance”.
The Senior Minister portfolio was first introduced by the erstwhile Kufuor administration.
The role of the Senior Minister is to supervise the activities of other appointees of the President, among which is to ensure utmost discipline among the appointees.
However, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, led by President John Evans Atta Mills, scrapped it.
In spite of that, announcing his first batch of ministerial nominees at the Jubilee House in Accra last Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo named Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo to head the re-introduced portfolio.
However, Prof. Gyampo said the portfolio was needless and that he found it difficult to comprehend its essence, especially when there was the clarion call for the country to have a lean government.
“There is a Chief of Staff and so I wonder the role Mr Osafo-Maafo is also going to play in government because all the ministers have their activities coordinated by the Chief of Staff.
“By the current arrangement, there will be a Chief of Staff, an Executive Secretary to the President and a Senior Minister. This is duplication of roles that can create some confusion,” he said.
Prof. Gyampo further called on President Akufo-Addo to “kindly re-designate Osafo-Maafo’s position if you want him around. He could be your special advisor on governmental and economic affairs”.
Touching on the competence of the first batch of 13 ministerial appointees that had been made so far, he said he was impressed by President Akufo-Addo’s immersion of youthfulness in his administration.
He said it was important for more youth to be appointed to serve in the President Akufo-Addo government, stressing that a blend of the young and seasoned former appointees from the erstwhile Kufuor administration was a step in the right direction.
On gender balance, he observed that it was important for the current administration to create space for more women to be included in government, saying that was the way women could contribute their quota to national development.