General News of Thursday, 13 February 2014
The staff strength of 678 at the Presidency has been criticized and described as wasteful and unnecessary.
“The people are too many; it is these numbers that lead to excessive expenditure in government and has led to the depreciation of the cedi. This is waste; complete waste,” NPP Member of Parliament for Obuasi West Constituency, Kwaku Agyemang Kwarteng thundered.
President John Mahama, acting in accordance with Section 11 of the Presidential Act 1993, which requires the president to submit a list of staffers to Parliament annually, presented a report containing 678 names to the House on Wednesday.
The long list includes four presidential advisors, four ministers of state, 24 presidential staffers and other civil/public service staff.
Kweku Kwarteng who was once government spokesperson on Finance and Economy under the Kufuor administration, said on Citi FM that the constitution envisages the structure of government: a President is elected and then he goes ahead to appoint Ministers ‘as his advisors’.
He emphasized that since the Ministers are also to act as Presidential advisors, “we don’t need any of these Presidential staffers”
“What kind of advice for instance on finance; the President needs that the Finance Minister and all his deputies cannot give? Then we later turn around and complain of wage bill… whether the previous administration did the same thing or not is not the issue of discussion. We should talk to the President that we don’t need all of these people and not get into the issue of it happened in the previous administration,” he added.
In reaction to this on the same platform, Deputy Information Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu said the fact that the President has such people at the presidency does not mean he has no regard for their expenditure.
He finds it difficult to accept that because the President already has ministers, he does not have to appoint other people to help him at the Flagstaff House.
“It is not as though government has packed on these numbers of presidential advisors without regard to being modest in government expenditure. What Ghanaians look out for is performance. As to how it comes about can be debated…we cannot dismiss or trivialize the role they play at the presidency” he indicated.