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Opinions of Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Columnist: Twum, Nana Sifa

Ministerial nominations by Akufo-Addo & his development vision for Ghana

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On the 7th of January this year, Ghana yet saw the birth of a new government. The country again demonstrated to the rest of the world another democratic feat, with the swearing in of the fifth president of the Fourth Republic.

The new government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has nominated people for almost all key ministerial positions in his government. The swift manner under which he released the names of these nominees signifies his preparedness to take over the reins of the governance of the country.

This perhaps is unprecedented in the annals of the governance history of this country where within two days after swearing in a government has come out with names of nominees to handle various ministries, thus beginning to form a government. Some names were even announced before he was sworn in as President.

This prompt action by the President is in line with the nation’s current constitution which states in article 78 sections 1 and 2 “Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament from among members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as members of Parliament, except that the majority of Ministers of State shall be appointed from among members of Parliament. (2) The President shall appoint such number of Ministers of State as may be necessary for the efficient running of the State.”

Taking into consideration the herculean task ahead of him and the limited time of four years he has to make an impart and qualify for reelection in 2020, when he could consolidate his gains, President Akufo-Addo immediately communicated his nominations to the legislature to expedite action of the approval or otherwise of his nominees to enable him set in motion his governance machinery.

His call to the august house to effectively scrutinize all his appointees and not “rubber stamp” them in “wholesale” as qualified is also welcome news.

In total, thirty-six names have been nominated. The team has been hailed as highly talented, rich in knowledge and skills as well as achievers. Most of them have so much to show by way of success in their respective fields of endeavor.

For instance, the Minister Designate for Energy. Boakye Agyarko as for twenty-two (22) years was employed as a worked at the bank of New York, the oldest bank in America where he rose to the position of Vice President and Head of Global Network Management for the Americans in the Investment Management and Services Division.

The Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta is also a renowned banker who founded the Databank just to mention but few.

Throughout his campaign trail, President Akufo-Addo made the people of Ghana aware of how bad the economy had been, how deplorable the rail system is. The poor living conditions within the zongo communities were also raised. He told Ghanaians the need to reorganize the regions to ensure fair, equitable and balanced distribution of national resources among other crucial national needs.

His nominations for ministerial position therefore have direct bearing on these aspirations of the people he has been elected to serve, hence some new and unheard-of ministries.

By and large, the nominations have been hailed by expects as excellent as against what critics say constitute duplication. Governance Expert, Professor Baffour Agyemang Dua, for instance, has the view that “every President has a vision therefore the creation of new Ministries are meant to promote the vision and goals of the new administration.”

The clear message from these new ministries created by the President is that we cannot continue to do the same thing to achieve new results. We must as a people, accept change and attempt new things, explore much more opportunities available to achieve new and satisfying results.

His decision to place all such new ministries under his office by way of funding, monitoring and supervision is also laudable. It is an amble testimony of how he wants to personally be involved in the innovations.

The President’s ambition to turn the nation round is obviously clear and the step for the start is right.

All the key areas which the President has highlighted as crucial and therefore ensuring pragmatic approach to their recovery such as aviation, railways, regional reorganisation and business development among others are honestly genuine needs of the people of Ghana.

A country like Ghana with collapsed railway system and also without a national carrier but rather entertaining over 42 other national airlines into our airspace indeed warrants such an approach from such a visionary leader.

The question about the cost implications and the funding of the new ministries should be looked at as an investment. The longer Ghanaians sustain such investments the more citizens will enjoy the dividends.

It is also believed that the gender and regional issues will be addressed in the deputy ministerial and other appointments.

Ghanaians must exercise patience to see how the new ministries would perform in the general governance of President Akufo-Addo, bearing in mind that we all float together or sink together.

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