General News of Friday, 20 January 2017
Senior Minister-designate Yaw Osafo-Marfo has expressed befuddlement at reports that his position is more or less like a Prime Minister. “That baffles me,” he stressed at his vetting on Friday, January 20.
Mr Osafo-Marfo became the first ministerial nominee of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to face Parliament’s Appointments Committee after assuming the seat at the Speaker’s Conference Room Thursday morning. His position had come up on the floor of Parliament after Member for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga said it was not captured in the 1992 Constitution.
The former Youth and Sports Minister followed up with an open letter to President Akufo-Addo, making a case why he thinks Mr Osafo-Marfo is clandestinely being made a Prime Minister by the 5th president of the 4th Republic. “Why the discrimination? You consciously seek to elevate Hon Yaw Osafo-Marfo to a status akin to that of a Prime Minister,” the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP wrote. ‘Octopus Ministry’ But explaining at his vetting on Thursday, the former Minister of Finance said he was essentially a minister of state.
He pointed out that the 1992 Constitution grants the president authority to rename ministries except the Attorney General, among Finance, Interior and Education mnistries, which are specifically mentioned in the constitution.
He added, therefore, that if the president even wants to name a ministry “Octopus Ministry,” he is granted the powers to do so. But Mr Osafo-Marfo explained that his ministry will coordinate activities of economic sector ministries in order to help the government transform the economy.
He said he will not be above the other ministers but will flex his muscles sometimes when need arises in order to get what he wants to help transform the economy. He also explained that his roles will be markedly different from the Chief of Staff’s.