You are here: HomeNewsPolitics2017 03 22Article 520982

Politics of Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Source: Al-hajj

What Akufo-Addo & NPP said in 2009/2013 on size of government etc

“Nana Addo is now going back on his promises and instead throwing dust into the public eye…God will curse this people, they are very wicked and I am telling you, before they leave power, you will see what would happen to them….You will see, they (NPP) were totally unfair to Mahama and the God of Mahama would curse this government…if they don’t apologize to John Mahama, God will punish them,” this was the verdict of the Managing Editor of The aL-hAJJ, Alhaji Bature Iddrisu on a recent television discussion program.

And perhaps true to the admonishing of the Alhaji a fortnight ago, the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party government with less than three months in office is beginning to show visible signs of a twofaced government.

President Akufo-Addo, since taking over the management of the country on January 7 and, as if under a sorcerer’s spell, has been taking strange decisions some of which are worse than what he, and his followers and civil society harshly criticized former President John Mahama and his National Democratic Congress for.

While President Akufo Addo, in opposition, described the Mahama-led NDC administration as the most incompetent government ever, and promised to turn things around when voted into power, his less than three-month-old government has so far proven to be worst, virtually; drifting from everything they promised Ghanaians.

The then NPP flag bearer, his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and other notable NPP kingpins launched scathing attacks on the Mahama NDC government for appointing about 80 ministers and their deputies in 2013.
They noted that Ghana’s economy was too fragile to contain that number of Ministers with its attending salaries and allowances.

Nana Addo Blast Mills Over 74 Ministers

Nana Akufo-Addo, while shredding the late Professor Mills for appointing 74 Ministers and deputies, which he described as bloated in May 2009, stated that, the then President Mills; ought to have formed a “lean government.”

According to him, “…instead of a lean government, we have lean kenkey at a higher price, these are the issues which the government and its activists should be tackling instead of seeking to divert attention with threats, intimidation, assaults, car-snatching, seizure of lorry parks and toilet grabbing,” Akufo Addo noted.

Mahama Ministers too many

Inspired by Nana Akufo-Addo’s censure of the late President, leading members of the NPP also jabbed former President Mahama for appointing 86 ministers and deputy ministers, describing it as “so insensitive and incredible.”

Director of Communications of the NPP, Nana Akomea; failed NPP flag bearer aspirant, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, NPP MP for New Juaben South, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah and other NPP bigwigs chastised the former president over his 86 ministers and deputies.

In March 2013, Dr Mark Asssibey Yeboah took on the Mahama government in a no-hold-bar censure, saying the size of government is just too big. Almost every major ministry has two deputies; Finance, Lands and Forestry, and Agriculture”, describing it as “job for the boys.”
This, he said, was because President Mahama was only seeking to satisfy everybody and he is gradually showing that he is truly indecisive. “He hasn’t even got the grabs of how to form these ministers. I’ll not be surprised if the count gets to 100,” he added

“You are paying your ministers about GH10000 a month, you are paying your deputies about GHc9000 a month, besides that you give them a land cruiser, you give them salon car, now you have to give them bungalow furnished. You have cooks, you have house boys and you have police protection and free calls and the rest,” he noted.

As if that was not enough, Nana Akomea on March 15, 2015, also accused President Mahama of illogical appointments, stating “ is intriguing that a social democratic party like the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has abandoned its ‘lean government’ promise in the wake of the socio-economic crisis in the country…what Ghana needs is institutional reforms and not illogical ministerial appointments.”

A former Trade and Industry minister, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku also joined Nana Akufo-Addo to condemn the former president, insisting; he expected the NDC government to constitute a lean Government as one of the means toward fighting the 12.0 percent budget deficit recorded for 2012.
“Last year in the budget, it was estimated the government machinery…run a budget deficit in excess of 600 million; the Ministry of Youth and sports, 300 million; National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), 200 million and on and on and on…these are unauthorized, unbudgeted expenditure that should not even be tolerated, but we did, it did happen so when they came in with the budget, I was hoping that they will address some of the cuts particularly in the less harmful areas such as such appointments”, Dr Apraku bemoaned.

He asked “Eighty-six ministers to do what in a struggling economy?”

According to him: “Practically every ministry has two deputy ministers”, adding that: “I thought there would have been consolidation not expansion”.

Dr Apraku explained that: “Consolidation in the sense that we have run these ministries for a long time; the world has changed; our economy has changed, I thought our government would have gone back to the drawing board and examine critically what ministries …we need to accomplish what we need to do in this country and how do we do it and who can help us do it [than] just to go on a whole sale appointment of 86 ministers”.

The former Trades Minister in the Kufuor Administration said the expenditure that will be made on the 86 ministers could worsen Ghana’s economic status than help correct the high deficit of last year.

He averred: “The average Land cruiser that a Minister is driving is US$140,000; imagine providing US$140,000 per minister and the two deputy ministers”, wondering: “How can Ghana tolerate this? How can the ordinary Ghanaian, the teacher that is upset, people who can’t live for two weeks on their salaries [and are] going through…difficulties [tolerate this]”.

“…We are going to supply a minimum of 86 Land Cruisers, not counting the saloon cars that they will be using, not counting the petrol cost of using them, the maintenance cost of using them. This is so insensitive, it’s incredible”, Dr Apraku thundered.

Akufo Addo names 110 Ministers

Despite these harsh criticism of the Mills/Mahama NDC governments and a promise to protect the public purse, President Akufo-Addo stunned many Ghanaians, perhaps except members of his party when; the total number of Ministers and deputies he has appointed so far jumped to 110.
Out of the total 110 appointees, 20 are Regional Ministers and their Deputies, 40 ministers for various ministries, with 50 deputies. This is a total departure from the number of ministers appointed by his predecessors.
In Jerry John Rawlings’ first term after the 1992 elections, he had Nineteen (19) substantive ministers, but he increased to Twenty-Five (25) in his second term. John Agyekum Kufuor in his first time increased the number of substantive ministers to Thirty-One (31), and maintained the same number in his second term.
The late John Evans Atta Mills in his first term managed to beat down the number to Twenty-Three (23) to fit into his vision. It must however be noted that, he had six (6) Ministers of State in addition to the Twenty-Three (23) bringing the number to Twenty-Nine (29).
He unfortunately didn’t have a second term before his demise. John Dramani Mahama in his first time had Twenty-Four (24) substantive ministers, with Five (5) Ministers of State at the presidency, making it Twenty-Nine 29, the exact number Atta Mills had.
This list however doesn’t include regional ministers and their deputies, as well as deputies for the various ministries.

NDC and Civil Society Cry Out

The main opposition NDC and Civil Society Groups like IMANI Ghana, Centre for Democratic Development, Occupy Ghana, the Media and other respected personalities and the public at large have chastised President Akufo over his bloated government.

The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, has described as senseless the justification of President Akufo-Addo’s 110 ministerial appointments.
“…The argument that the economy is so destroyed that they need a bigger team to do work also doesn’t make sense,” he stated.

A political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, also questioned President Akufo Addo’s decision to run his government with a hundred and ten ministers.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Citi Fm, Prof. Gyampo told host, Richard Sky that “the idea of efficiency is using few to achieve more. So if you have a government that is made up of over 100 ministers and you describe this as big, it doesn’t promote efficiency. You need a few ministers to prosecute your agenda. I’m not sure the Akufo-Addo administration needs all these people to help him redeem his campaign promises.”
Head of Research and Programs at the CDD, Dr. Franklin Oduro, has also said the large government size could present Ghana with additional problems, and suggested that the decision may not have been well-thought through.
“There is no doubt that there was some basis in which the president considered making those appointments, but it is also important to note that, there is no evidence to suggest that by appointing such large numbers, they are able to solve the problems that the president is talking about.”

Government’s Justification

But government and spokespersons of the NPP, led by Information Minister, Sheikh Mustapha Hamid, have been putting up spirited defense to the President’s decision to appoint 110 Ministers.

The Information Minister shot down arguments that President Akufo-Addo’s huge government size will take a toll on the nation’s coffers.
“…If you need more hands to ensure that we are protecting bigger money, you might do so because it’s better,” he argued

“We all agree that we ought to find ways of protecting the public purse and everybody agrees that in Africa the biggest problem that we face as a continent is not because we don’t have resources, often times it’s because of corruption. We lose a lot of money to corruption. And we all agree again that the biggest spot of our loss of money is through dubious procurement practices,” he noted.
Nana Akomea, who chastised Mr Mahama over his 86 ministers, also said President Akufo Addo needs the numbers to honor the numerous promises he made to Ghanaians in the run up to the 2016 elections
“…But there is also no doubt that president akufo addo's vision is the boldest and revolutionary of any president in the fourth republic…the vision of one factory per district, comprehensive free SHS, comprehensive irrigation in the north, one million extra dollars per constituency, special prosecutor etc, offers the country the real chance to industrialize, provide jobs to the teeming youth on a sustainable basis, move agriculture from peasant levels to real agric business, stabilize the cedi on a sustainable basis, aggressively meet the basic developmental needs of our deprived communities, tame inflation, tame corruption, and generally move this country onto the cherished new paradigm of progress and development. President akufo addo believes he needs these numbers of appointees to deliver.”

President Wades In

Perhaps, dissatisfied with the defense put up by his spokespersons following the public uproar, the President himself waded into the controversy in a bid to dilute those raising issues with his bloated government.
In an interview on GTV the president said the cost of running this large sized government will become a non-issue in the next few years by which time his government would have built a better, bigger economy.
In any case, he argued about 65% of his appointees are already in Parliament drawing salaries and the cost involved in turning them into ministers will be just a drop in the ocean.

"I am aware that people are concerned about what they see is the cost of this large government. The number of deputy ministers, 42 out of 50 is all Parliamentarians. In effect, converting them from Parliamentarians into ministers, the marginal cost of that transformation is minimal in terms of its impact on the public exchequer.

"Over all out of the 110, 65 to 70% of them are all from Parliament. So the burden on the public exchequer which is the matter that is agitating the minds of people will not be anywhere as acute as people thinks.
"...If our strategy for economic growth succeeds in accelerating the rate of growth in the economy, what you call the brouhaha over appointment of large government will certainly be a brouhaha,” he added.
Already cursed?

Meanwhile Alhaji Bature has warned that the Akufo-Addo government will incur the wrath of Mr Mahama’s God if the president and his men do not apologize to the former president for being unfair to him with their criticisms.

“The God of John Mahama would curse this government because in spite of all these wonderful things he did, they got the media, the Civil Society, the clergy and others to back them…I swear, Mahama’s God will curse this government and you will see the disgrace that would follow them when they are leaving power…,” he noted.

He was reacting to a statement by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo that Nana Addo’s administration has a four year mandate and hence can’t fulfill all promises in just one budget. “I heard Osafo Marfo talking about the fact that the NPP has a four year mandate and hence have four budgets to present, I am surprised by that and that is leading me to conclude that perhaps present Mahama never had an appealing personality to all the folks in NPP…I’m shocked because President Mahama after promising to build 50 SHSs was held by the neck a day after the promise and now you say you have a four year mandate, did President Mahama have a one-day mandate?,” he quizzed.

Indeed, “karma is a bitch”. Below are some of the things the media reported the then opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, said about late President Mills when the latter complained about the state of the nation’s economy.

Akufo-Addo to President Mills
…Every Gov’t Inherit
Assets & Liabilities”

Graphic-May 26, 2009

THE presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Election 2008, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday broke his long period of silence and criticised the Mills administration for what he termed its “blame game” and “democratisation of violence”.
He also called on the government to find innovative ways to solve the problems facing the country, especially what he described as the deteriorating security situation in Dagbon and the rising cost of living.
“The NDC claims on a daily basis that this or that problem was left by the NPP administration. I say to President Mills today: If you say that the system is broke, fix it,” he noted.
Addressing hundreds of party faithful and some market women at the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Hall at Osu in Accra, Nana Akufo-Addo pledged that if President Mills took concrete steps to fix the problems facing the people and refrained from divisive tendencies and harassment, “they can count on our principled support. Our party stands ready, as pledged in my January 3, 2008 statement, to work with the President to move the country forward”.
In the speech, dubbed: “Reviewing the current situation in Ghana“, the defeated presidential candidate said every government inherited assets and liabilities and noted that in 2001 the departing NDC left a few assets and many liabilities, including high inflation and interest rates, historic levels of debts and low external reserves, but instead of complaining, the Kufuor administration came out with bold decisions such as the HIPC initiative which brought many benefits to the nation.
Nana Akufo-Addo claimed that the NPP also left some unfinished businesses and many assets, including an increased GDP from $3.9 billion in 2001 to $17 billion in 2008, as well as posting a record GDP growth rate of 7.3 per cent last year, despite the world economic crunch.
In a mood reminiscent of the 2008 campaign, Nana Akufo-Addo, together with some party heavyweights, danced to NPP campaign tunes. Some of the leading members, former ministers of state, former and sitting MPs present were the National Chairman of the NPP, Mr Peter Mac Manu; the General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow; the National Organiser, Mr Lord Commey; the MP for Kwabenya, who is also the Second Deputy Speaker, Prof Mike Oquaye, the MP for Suame and Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and the former envoy to Serbia, Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe.
After enumerating many of what he said were the achievements of the NPP administration, Nana Akufo-Addo said the real challenges facing the people of the country today were poverty, unemployment, crime, the burden of ignorance, squalor and diseases.
He expressed worry that instead of taking concrete steps to address the real problems, fulfil what it promised the people within its 100-days in office and foster peace and unity, the Mills government had rather “found time for mischief”.
He also mentioned some of the alleged attacks on NPP supporters in the country, especially what took place in Tamale after the announcement that his car had been seized by National Security operatives.
That, he alleged, resulted in the burning of 27 properties and the brutalisation of NPP supporters, including Madam Sadia Seidu, a nursing officer.
Describing the act as the “democratisation of violence” which was rearing its ugly head, he again expressed worry that no attempt had been made by the state to assist the 800 innocent victims whose homes and belongings were destroyed.
Flanked by his wife, Nana Akufo-Addo said the creeping threats to the Dagbon peace process, which appeared to be with the “active connivance of the state machinery”, especially the alleged assistance given by state security to the Andanis to enter the Gbewaa Palace to perform certain rituals, were worrying.
He, therefore, urged President Mills, as the father of the nation, to exhibit the same even-handedness in the enforcement of the road map that former President Kufuor exhibited, even at the risk of jeopardising his party’s traditional support base in Dagbon.
He cautioned that the leadership of the NPP had worked hard to restrain its supporters from reacting, adding, however, that there was the tendency that “militants on our side, convinced that the state cannot or will not protect them, may take measures to protect their interests, themselves and their loved ones”, a move which could drive the process towards a point of no return.
Describing himself as an ardent believer of accountability, the rule of law and the fact that a person was innocent unless proven otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction, he said the announcement by the National Security Adviser, Brigadier-General Nunoo-Mensah (retd), that former government officials would be sent to court was a “prosecutorial decision made by political operatives with an axe to grind or scores to settle”.
He said pronouncements by leading members of the government and the NDC were dangerous for democracy and urged President Mills to condemn them and work to expand the frontiers of freedom and respect for the rule of law.
Nana Akufo-Addo was, however, quick to commend the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, for repudiating the position of the National Security Adviser.
He cautioned that the ethnic passions that were deliberately heightened during the 2008 elections, coupled with the closeness of the election results and the serious challenges facing the country “demanded that we make extra efforts to promote the unity of our nation”.
He alleged that unfortunately, upon assumption of office, the NDC had chosen to emphasise what divided the people and said there had even been references to certain ethnic groups as if they were second-class citizens.
On the international front, he said Ghana could not isolate itself if it wanted to be a modern and prosperous nation. He noted also that with the departure of President Kufuor, ECOWAS and the African Union still yearned for Ghana’s leadership and so President Mills must provide such leadership.
Nana Akufo-Addo explained that the historic levels of growth in the economy and the international stature attained during the Kufuor era needed to be maintained by President Mills through travelling because “there are places where surrogates will not do”. Source: Donald Ato Dapatem
…“fall of cedi undermines living standards of people”
Accra, May 26, GNA

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, Election 2008 Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Tuesday said the Ghanaian currency had lost a significant portion of its value since the new government assumed office in January 2009.
"This has led to the prices of basic items shooting up dramatically, undermining the living standards of the broad masses of the people," Nana Akufo Addo stated at a party forum organized to review the current situation in the country, spell out strategies for reorganizing the party and reinvigorate the supporters after losing his presidential bid in the last elections.

The forum was attended by leading NPP members, including National Chairman, Mr Peter Mac Manu, General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow, Minority Leader, Mr Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Second Deputy Speaker, Professor Mike Ocquaye, former ministers of state, Members of Parliament, other national and regional executives as well as a large party faithful.

Nana Akufo Addo said the cost of basic food such as an olonka of gari had moved from one Ghana cedi in January to one cedi, sixty pesewa, olonka of maize from 1.70 Ghana cedis to 2.50 Ghana cedis; 50 kilo bag of rice from 63.00 to 75.00 cedis and vegetable oil from 2.50 cedis to 3.50 cedis.

"This is the practical effect of a growing inflation and growing loss of confidence in our economy. The effect is that instead of putting money in our pocket as promised by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) food has been taken off your tables and money out of your pocket.

"Instead of lightening the hardships that have been imposed on the Ghanaians people by an alleged insensitive and uncaring NPP government, as President John Evans Atta Mills promised during Election 2008 campaign, we have seen in this brief five-month period of even greater hardships being visited on our people," he said.

Nana Akufo Addo said the nation experienced similar fate in the late 1990s when current President Mills was the Vice President while the current Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Dufuor, the Governor of Bank of Ghana were in charge of the economy. "Then, just like now, there were high inflation and interest rates, and our currency kept losing value, the government appeared to be helpless in doing anything about it.

"Just like now, business people were happier investing their money in 90-day Treasury Bills than in expanding their business and creating jobs," Nana Akufo Addo stated.

The NPP Election 2008 Presidential candidate reminded the government of its promise for a "Better Ghana," stressing; "it should mean among other things, better jobs, better pay, better personal security, better sanitation, better homes, better schools, better hospitals, better roads, better prices of goods and service. "It is not a Better Ghana, when instead of a lean government, we have lean kenkey at a higher price, these are the issues which the NDC government and its activists should be tackling instead of seeking to divert attention with threats, intimidation, assaults, car-snatching, seizure of lorry parks and toilet grabbing".

Nana Akufo Addo urged President Mills to concentrate on the concerns of newly qualified teachers, doctors, and nurses, address the problem of unreliable water and electricity supply.

"President Mills should work to secure the healthcare legacy of former President John Agyekum Kufuor in the form of the National Health Insurance Scheme by improving the delivery of services in our hospitals and generally fulfil its campaign promises as captured in their manifesto," he said.

Nana Akufo Addo urged the government to act with dispatch to address the free-fall of the cedi by working with private business operators, Bank of Ghana and private banks, while making responsible utterances in the economy at home and abroad.

"The restoration of a stable cedi will go a long way to restoring the confidence of the business community which is absolutely essential for getting the investment that will bring systematic growth and rapid expansion of our economy.this is the surest way to prosperity for the broad masses of our people," he said. Source GNA