General News of Tuesday, 19 December 2017
Parliament has rejected the 2018 budgetary allocation for the office of the Senior Minister for its planned programmes and policies.
The parliamentarians rejected the budget estimated at six million cedis arguing that the office was not a legal creation and therefore could not be allocated any funds from the national budget.
The Senior Minister office headed by Yaw Osafo Maafo was created by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo when he assumed office.
Leading the charge for the rejection was Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu who argued that the Senior Minister’s office is expected to coordinate the activities of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies and thus cannot be treated as a separate Ministry without legal backing.
“It is either the President has not done that which is legally appropriate because I am holding with me the Executive Instrument (EI 28) Civil Service Ministry Statement 2017, signed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana which creates the various Ministries and conspicuously lost in this list, is office of the Senior Minister so it means that the portfolio of Senior Minister is only being held morally , but legally he [President Nana Addo] has no locus and if the President must do what is legally appropriate to create the office by the Executive Instrument unless a different instrument is issued to that effect,” Mr. Iddrisu argued on the floor of Parliament.
Supporting this assertion, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said the office ought to be placed under the office of government machinery to ensure effective accountability.
The office of the Senior Minister has therefore been urged to depend on the office of government machinery for its expenditure in the ensuing year.
Senior Minister role unconstitutional
The creation of the office been met with condemnation from some critics who believe the office is a superfluous portfolio with no proper designation.
Apart from Mr. Iddrisu , Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga had also argued that the creation of the office was unconstitutional.
According to Mr. Ayariga, the “nomination of any person to be vetted for the post of a ‘Senior Minister’ constitutes a constitutional aberration”, adding that “nowhere in the Constitution does the office of ‘Senior Minister’ exist.”
Osafo-Maafo justifies Senior Minister porfolio
Mr. Osafo Maafo however justified his appointment, explaining that his core duty will be to “coordinate the roles of the various economic ministries in the new government.”
The Senior Minister made the comment while responding to Mr. Ayariga’s question on whether Nana Addo’s creation of the Senior Minister office was constitutional, during his vetting.
Supporting his argument with Article 78 (2) of the constitution, Mr. Osafo Maafo posited that, the President has the prerogative to appoint anyone to any portfolio he deems fit.
Article 78 (2) of the 1992 constitution states that “the President shall appoint such number of Ministers of State as may be necessary for the efficient running of the state.”