General News of Sunday, 25 November 2018
Government has refuted claims by the Minority in Parliament that it is increasing presidential staffers from 998 to 1,614, describing the claims as “political mischief”.
Last week the Minority in Parliament claimed that the Government was planning to increase the number of staff at the Office of the President from 998 to 1,614, representing an increase of 616 staffers, which would burden the public purse.
Those claims were widely publicised in the traditional media and other social media platforms.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, addressing journalists at a news conference on Sunday, to react to the allegations, said either the Minority were confused with the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) and Office of the President, or they were only up to political mischief.
Contrary to the claim, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said staff numbers at the Office of the President and the Office of Government Machinery were rather going through a programmed reduction, which would see the staff Government Machinery reduced by 83, while the staff at the Office of the President decreased by 69.
He noted that in the 2018 Budget, the ceiling of the Government Machinery was 1,697, but it was reduced to 1,614 in the 2019 Budget,
therefore witnessing a reduction by 83 staff members.
Additionally, the staff at the Office of the President is expected to reduce by 69 from 998 in 2018 to 929 in the 2019 Budget.
For instance, the Office of the President, in 2018, programmed to have 785 staff plus 240 staff who came on secondment from different public agencies, bringing the number to 998.
Those on secondment, he said, came from the Department of Parks and Gardens, Ghana Health Service, Controller and Accountant General’s Department, the Audit Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Public Works Department and Ghana Postal Company.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that the reduction was necessitated by the retirement of some staff, who are yet to be replaced and removal of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority from the Office of the Government Machinery.
He, therefore, urged the public and interested Ghanaians to cross check the figures on the reduction in the 2018 Budget on page 185 and on page 216 in the 2019 Budget for their own perusal.
The Information Minister urged the media to preserve the sanctity of facts in public discourse by subjecting people who make such claims to provide empirical proof before giving them space, since it could have significant effects on the public.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that the Executive Arm of Government is organised into Ministries, Departments and Agencies and that the supervising outfit of the Executive Arm is referred to as Office of Government Machinery comprising 19 different units, one of which is the Office of the President.
The others include State Enterprises Commission, Divestiture Implementation Committee, Office of the Senior Minister, Council of State, State Protocol Department, Ghana Aids Commission, Office of the Administrator General, National Population Council, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Internal Audit Agency, National Identification Authority and Nation Builders Corps.
He said the claim of an increase was because the Minority was comparing the Office of the President, which was 998 in 2018, and part of the 1,697 ceiling, with the entire Office of Government Machinery for 2019, totalling 1,614.
The Minister said the basic rule of evidence is that “he who alleges has the onus to prove” and, thus, urged the media to push people to prove their claims.
He said those who could not prove their claims should not be given the mileage to keep making false and unsubstantiated claims.