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General News of Friday, 18 February 2005

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Size Of JAK?s Govt Excessive -Mahama

88 ministers, 8 more than JAK's first term
The Minority Spokesman on Communication, John Mahama has described the size of President Kufuor?s government as unjustifiably excessive.

The President, yesterday, nominated 53 people for ministerial and deputy ministerial positions for approval by parliament.

This in addition to the 35 Ministers already approved by parliament brings the total number of ministers in the administration to 88, eight more than what pertained in the first term of President Kufuor?s administration.

Mr. Mahama argues that the present schedule for the various ministries makes it unnecessary for so many deputy ministers.

He added that this gives credence to the perception that the President is dishing out what is being called ?Job for the Boys? to appease certain personalities.

Speaking on Joy FM?s talk show program, the FrontPage, Mr. Mahama said, government already has its key policies already in place therefore there was no need to increase the size of government, which he argues, invariably increases state expenditure.

?Take the Ministry of Trade for instance, it was the Ministry of Trade and PSI and it has a minister and two deputies, the schedule of PSI has been taken away and given to the Ministry of Private Sector Development so it is now Private Sector and PSI, by any sense of logic I mean you reduce the work schedule and increase the number of ministers, you will find that hard to justify?. he said.

He said there are many more ministries with three deputy ministers saying that the ministry of Trade has a sector task of promoting trade and industry to come out with policies, however a lot of work had been done with the out-dooring of the trade policy so at the policy level some of the basic task has been done and it is left with the implementation.

? You have a minister, a deputy, a line of five chief directors for policy monitoring and evaluation and all chains of bureaucracies to contend with why would you need that kind of number of deputy ministers, one finds it difficult to imagine? he said.

?There are situations where responsibilities are been hyped off to other ministries and yet the number of political appointees are being increased in the ministry where the schedule is becoming lighter.? he said

?The increasing number of ministers is as a result of increased advocacy work done by women groups and their participation in decision making, ?I think that 88 is excessive?

? One of the major problems that the country have had is sectoral performance, while we have been doing well at stabilizing the Macro economic level, at the micro what is the state of implementation, there are beautiful policies, one of the best in Africa, but the question is how are these polices implemented, I think that the way to go is increase or make the political appointments heavy? he said.

?I think that the attention should be at the implementation level because the issue of Public Sector reforms is very important because we do have a huge public sector and we do have good polices but the problem is how such policies are translated at the district level into programmes that would change the lives of the people so I don?t think that appointing more ministers is the solution?he said?