Feature Article of Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Columnist: Badu, K
By: Badu, K
Who said that the critics who are querying President Akufo-Addo’s appointment of 110 substantive and deputy ministers are not doing so legitimately?
I am afraid the critics are within their democratic rights. Indeed, they have every right to interrogate the rationale behind President Akufo-Addo’s decision to constitute a large size government.
But then again, if you were to ask my opinion on the issue; I will venture to inform you that I do not harbour any marked disposition for or against the size of Akufo-Addo’s government.
In any case, I would like to maintain that the resources available and the scope of the task at hand would normally determine the size of a project team.
I do not also want to brush aside the views of those who are suggesting that we should reserve our criticisms until the tasks at hand have been completed and we can then measure the ‘input against the output’.
Then also those who are fretting thy souls with extreme disappointments over the corresponding huge wage bill amid harsh economic conditions have my sympathy.
I would also like to know whether, if, the critics will be content and take back their criticisms if President Akufo-Addo’s large size government managed to reverse all the economic mess created by President Mahama’s supposedly small size, albeit incompetent government?
There is no denying or hiding the fact that the country is in the throes of economic collapse due to the previous government’s economic mismanagement and the numerous scandalous corruptions.
Indeed, there is an unobjectionable evidence of gargantuan bribery and corruption cases, including monies that were given to individuals who did not render any services towards the national development.
Apparently, the rot in the erstwhile NDC government was so pervasive that even the diehard supporters threatened to boycott the 2016 general election.
I recall my long-term friend who had seen enough of the mess in his beloved NDC government decided to walk out of the NDC Party.
My pal contended that he had been defending and promoting the party’s much touted ethos of probity and accountability for well over twenty three years, but lost the zeal to continue, as the sleaze and corruption in President Mahama’s government reached immeasurable proportions.
My friend however maintained that the straw that broke the camel’s back was when President Mahama unjustifiably gave Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) two four wheel drive cars and a luxury bungalow (estimated to cost a staggering $470,000)for no work done.
Apparently, my mate’s beef stemmed from the fact that he had worked his socks off all those years for the Party to enjoy power, meanwhile he had nothing to show for his efforts.
My pal was thus flabbergasted that parasitic creatures like Madam Akua Donkor were needlessly being showered with all sorts of melodic gifts.
Unsurprisingly, however, my friend demitted his role in the NDC party prior to the 2016 election and confided in me that he was not even going to travel to his polling station on the voting day.
In fact, he did not see the urgent need to vote for NDC and President Mahama. My pal was indeed distraught about Mahama’s handling of the economy and his maladaptive laissez faire leadership.
Indeed, a large portion of the country’s resources went down the drain due to irrevocable mismanagement and the wanton sleaze and corruptions perpetrated by the officials of the erstwhile administration.
The erstwhile NDC government even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (around GH600 million).
Somewhere in 2010, it was reported that the late Mills warned some officials in his government not to effect payment to Woyome. Yet the conspiratorial plotters defied the good old Mills orders and doled out a staggering amount to Wayome, who had no contract with the government of Ghana.
Subsequently, in July 2014, the Supreme Court of Ghana ordered Businessman Mr Alfred Woyome to pay back to the state a Gh 51.2million dubious judgment debt paid him between 2009 and 2010.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was as a result of a review of the court's earlier decision sought by former Attorney General Martin Amidu, who maintained that Woyome, like international firms, Waterville and Isofoton, had no valid contract to be paid any amount by the state in judgment debt.
The Supreme Court also ruled that Isofoton S.A. and Waterville Holdings BVI, must also refund the dubious judgement debt payments made to them by the erstwhile NDC government.
According to the highest Court of the land, Waterville Holdings BVI, which was allegedly involved in the construction of some stadia in Ghana, ahead of the hosting of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, was wrongfully paid €25 million and thus must refund the money. While the Court ordered Isofoton S.A. US$325,472 it received as judgment debt from the Government of Ghana.
Unfortunately, none of those monies were retrieved by the erstwhile NDC government, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling.
We cannot also leave out the scandalous corruption cases involving GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $250million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee headed by Major Daniel Ablorh – Quarcoon (rtd.).
The Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF)however estimates that monies lost to corrupt and dubious transactions under the presidency of John Dramani Mahama amounted to GHC5billion.
Apparently, the total of my calculations in respect of all the recorded corrupt and dubious transactions exceeds that of the PNF, but I shall use the PNF’s figure of GH5billion in my analysis.
Substantive and deputy ministers salaries
A cabinet minister who is a Member of Parliament (MP) will now receive GH¢16,423 while a cabinet minister, who is not an MP, will collect GH¢16,195.
A minister of state who is an MP will now receive GH¢15,967 while a minister of state who is not an MP will go home with GH¢15,739.
Regional ministers who are MPs will take home GH¢15,967 while those who are not MPs will have GH¢15,511.
Deputy ministers who are MPs will collect GH¢14,876 while those who are not MPs will receive GH¢14,369.
Deputy regional ministers who are MPs will take home GH¢14,369 while those who are not MPs will be given GH¢14,142 (Source: Daily guide, 2016).
Based on the above figures, the average salary per minister is a little over GH15, 300. If you multiply the average salary by 110 ministers by 12 months will give us a total sum of a little above GH20 million (representing total annual salary).
For argument sake, I shall increase the total annual salary figure to GH25 million over the four years and that should give us GH100 million (four years’ salary figure).
This is no attempt to justify the appointment of 110 ministers, but let us please be honest, if a few individuals could conspire and embezzle over GH5 billion over eight years, then the four years wage bill of GH100 million, is a ‘peanut’ in my humble opinion.
In sum, despite the fact that the critics hold the preponderance of the argument about 110 ministers, I, for one, would have preferred that the hardworking men and women receive deserving remunerations than a few conspiratorial plotters squandering our resources through ‘create, loot and share’.
K. Badu, UK.
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