After persistent pressure, President Akufo-Addo has finally submitted to Parliament, albeit belatedly the Annual Report on Presidential Office Staff for January to December 2019 as required by the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463).
It is deeply worrying to observe that President Akufo-Addo cannot seem to help himself. Despite widespread public outrage over his penchant for an elephantine-sized government; the number of Presidential Staffers has increased from 28 in 2018 to 36 in 2019.
Also, the list of junior political appointees has shot up from 254 in 2018 to 270 in 2019.
Even more troubling are the foggy designations. For example: we have Duke Ofori-Atta presented in the report as “Director of Programmes.” Then there is Amina Sammo who is “Director of Programme.” There’s Ouborr K. Kutando, Director of Special Project and then Alexander Gyedu who is “Director, Special Projects.“
In addition to the controversial portfolio of Minister of State for Public Procurement held by Sarah Adjoa Sarfo, there’s listed a “Director for Procurement Compliance” in the person of Samuel Kwaku Adu. In similar vein, though Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Awal continues to function as Minister for Business Development, the tax payer is further burdened with a “Director of Business Support” named as Franklin Owusu-Karikari.
It is particularly curious as to why the tax payer should be saddled with a full time “Overseer of the National Cathedral” even though we are told in rather hazy terms that the National Cathedral is a non-state voluntary effort.
Then there’s the legion of persons listed as Personal Assistants without stating which specific officials they are assisting.
It is significantly strange to observe that when compared to the 2018 Annual Report, a number of Ministers of State are missing from the 2019 Annual Report. Ministers such as Yaw Osafo Marfo, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Dan K. Botwe, Mavis Hawa Koomson, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei and Prof. Gyan Baffuor do not feature at all. Indeed, only five Ministers of State appear in the report raising credibility concerns and if Parliament is being presented with accurate data especially as in this case, there would be no IMF opportunity to seek redress.
At this rate, the advocacy to amend Act 463 to place a cap on the number of political appointees (311 out of a total staffing of 934) that should be appointed which some of us have championed for years becomes even more relevant now than ever.
Perhaps we should be asking President Akufo-Addo to help us better understand exactly what he meant by protecting the public purse.
While looking forward to the debate in Parliament on this report, may I state that I strongly identify with those calling on Government to downsize having regard to the state of our economy.