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General News of Monday, 30 April 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Special Assistants' taking over our work - Civil, Local Government staff warn Akufo-Addo

The Akufo-Addo government has been accused of using special assistants to hijack the work of professionals within the civil and local government service.

Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana, (CLOGSAG) said it can point to several ministers in the government who are adopting illegal and unorthodox ways of doing away from civil servants.

But the Executive Secretary, Isaac Bampoe Addo, mentioned the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in particular.

He accused Akufo-Addo's most trusted minister of "recruiting staff outside the civil service to head various divisions, departments within the Ministry of Finance".

These moves, he said, are some of the ways the ministers employ "excessive use of political power to obstruct laid down procedures".

Some ministers have also signed letters ordering some civil servants to proceed on leave, a "clear violation of procedures", he said.

CLOGSAG said this increasing sub-culture of hijacking the work of career civil servants threatens to mar the Associations' cordial relationship with government.

The Executive Secretary wants the President to call his ministers to order.

It has been remarked that Ghana's Civil and Local Government Services has been politicized despite its principle of political neutrality.

The Akufo-Addo government sacked two top civil servants in 2017 explaining, they were "clearly partisan” in their work and were brought in on "purely political grounds"

The government kicked out Head of Local Government Service, Dr Callistus Mahama who was brought in by the NDC in 2009 after it also booted out the then head appointed under the President John Kufuor administration.

Head of the State Enterprises Commission, Dr Kaminta Baizie was also sacked after the government said they were seen on NDC campaign platforms several times.

In government, the Energy Minister, Boakye Agarko, has remarked, the NPP must "work hard and expose and shame any NDC civil servants who will dare do any dubious thing to make the NPP government unpopular”.

Years of political interference in recruitments has resulted in mistrust whenever a new government is sworn in.

Akufo-Addo may have signalled this mistrust after he decried the politicisation of the civil service, weeks to the 2016 general elections.

The government in 2017 justified the appointment of 110 ministers, the largest in history explaining that it is because "the Civil Service has failed us".

In the latest recruitment, President Nana Akufo-Addo released a list of 998 staff working at the Presidency, including the seat of government, Jubilee House.

The list included some 703 civil and public service employees who had already been working there before the Akufo-Addo government was sworn in in 2017.

The list includes 256 special, political assistants and junior appointees.

The government has endured heavy criticism for running the largest administrative machinery at the Presidency.