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The Minority caucus in Parliament has taken on the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, over comments regarding the number of staff currently working under the Office of Government Machinery.
The Caucus says the Minister peddled falsehood about the real number of staff engaged at the Office of Government Machinery between 2017 and 2018, including claims that the Office was undergoing a programmed reduction.
The Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, raised concerns about the size of the Office of Government Machinery during the debate on the 2019 Budget Statement in Parliament.
The MP cited Appendix 7 of Page 216 of the Budget Statement where Government has allocated an amount of GHc 110 Million for the engagement of about 1,614 staff for the 2019 fiscal year. He also pointed out that the Government had failed to heed to the demands of the people to reduce the 2017 figure of 998 staff but have rather ended up increasing it to 1,614.
Subsequently, Oppong Nkrumah held a Press Briefing on Sunday, November 25, 2018 to correct what government claimed to be an erroneous impression created by the Minority to the effect that the number of staff under the Office of Government Machinery for the year 2017 has almost doubled in the year 2018.
The Minister indicated in his response that either the Minority was confused about the difference between the Office of Government Machinery and Office of the President; or it was just playing political mischief to score political points.
According to him, established posts for OGM in 2018 was 1,697, while in 2019 it has rather been reduced to 1,614. Therefore, the established posts at OGM has reduced between 2018 and 2019 and not increased.
“The claim of an increase is because the Minority is comparing Office of the President (998 in 2018) which was part of the 1,697 ceiling, with the entire Office of Government Machinery ceiling for 2019 (1,614).” He said.
However, addressing a Press conference in Parliament on Monday, 26 November, 2018, the Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, indicated that it was rather erroneous for the Minister to claim that the staff for the Office of Government Machinery was decreasing when in fact it has increased.
“The claim that 1,614 is surely a reduction because of the 2018 ceiling of 1,697 is rather erroneous. This is because the 2017 ceiling as contained at page 177 of the 2017 Budget Statement is 953. The Report of 998 confirms that this ceiling was exceeded by 45. If this track record is anything to go by, then one cannot be certain that there has in actual terms been a reduction from 2018 to 2019.”
He therefore submitted strongly that they were expecting the Government to have listened to the demands of the people to reduce the numbers from 998 since it had earlier generated an uproar.
Source: Clement Akoloh || Africanewsradio.com