The Center for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana has expressed disappointment in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in increasing the staff at his office “considering the public concerns raised over his appointment last year of an unprecedented 110 ministers and deputy ministers”.
CDD-Ghana says the explanations given for the increase in the numbers is “unpersuasive”.
Last Friday, there was leakage of a list of 998 staffers at the presidency, Jubilee House – most recently called Flagstaff House – submitted to Parliament at the end of 2017.
The list involves civil servants as well as political appointees working at the Jubilee House.
“In the case of the civil service personnel, it is not clear why many of the agencies for which they presumably work must be located at the Presidency,” CDD-Ghana said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“A good number are functionally best situated within one or the other existing Ministry or Department.
“In some other cases, it is not clear why those agencies must continue to exist at all.”
With regard to the political staffers, the civil society organization said a huge number of personnel have roles that are “vague, unclear, or superfluous” while in many instances there is “a needless duplication of roles”.
It said the size is a blot on the escutcheon of President Akufo-Addo especially in the face of his ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ campaign.
“With the President championing a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda, a vision many Ghanaians appear to have embraced, there is widespread and justifiable expectation that the Presidency would lead the way toward that noble goal by signaling through its conduct an end to profligacy and an exceptional commitment to economy in the expenditure of public resources.
“CDD-Ghana is equally unpersuaded by the argument that the size of the President’s political staff is justified because the President has a big agenda to prosecute.
“The proposition, that the size of a party’s or president’s election manifesto must determine, in some directly proportionate sense, the size of its government, if accepted, would lead us down an untenable path, as parties and presidential candidates would be motivated to outdo one another in a race-to-the-bottom ‘manifesto war’ and, then, once elected, proceed to justify their super-sized staffs as necessary to prosecute their grand manifestos.”
Parliament, Council of State to blame
It also blamed Parliament and the Council of State for conniving at such a trend when the two are charged with statutory responsibilities to check it.
“CDD-Ghana is also disappointed that neither the Council of State nor Parliament has seen fit to rein in this growing indifference of successive administrations to the fiscal cost of a super-sized presidential staff and retinue.
“Although the role of the Council of State in the staffing of the Presidency is, under the applicable statute, only consultative, the point of inserting the Council in the process is presumably to enable it counsel the President in its staffing decisions, including, we would expect, in the size, where it appears excessive.
“Similarly, the point of statutorily requiring the President to submit a list of the employees at the Presidency to the Parliament on an annual basis is not merely for the sake of informing Parliament but to enable Parliament, on the basis of that information, to raise any appropriate questions and concerns it might have over staffing with the Presidency.”
It urged the two bodies to take their responsibilities seriously – in the case of the Council – and review the presidential list immediately – in the case of Parliament.