General News of Monday, 26 November 2018
Government has debunked claims that it intends to increase the current number of staff at the Jubilee House from the 998 to 1,614.
Addressing journalists in Accra on Sunday, Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the claim that the list of presidential staffers is increasing astronomically is false and must be disregarded.
According to Mr. Oppong Nkrumah, government rather intends to reduce the number of staff of the government machinery from 1, 697 to 1,614.
“Contrary to the claim staff numbers at the office of the president and even the office of the government machinery itself are rather going through a programme of reduction and not an increase,” he added. The claim that the government had planned to increase the number of presidential staffers became a subject for discussion in Parliament last week when the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa raised it on the Floor of the House.
He said the planned move by the government smacks of insensitivity on the part of the government especially as many Ghanaians continue to lament over difficult economic times.
“I am deeply, deeply worried about the refusal of President Akufo Addo’s government to listen to the people of this country. When the presidential staffers list of 998 was presented to this house, there was national outrage, we are informed that the office of government machinery, government intends to employ 1,614 people,” he said.
But Oppong Nkrumah at the press conference said Ablakwa and those peddling such claims may have misconstrued government machinery to mean office of the president.
“After several requests for them to offer proof to back this claim, they refer to the 2019 budget, as the source of their claim. That claim is false. The makers of the claim have either confused office of government machinery with office of the president or are only up to political mischief.”
“There is a clear difference between the office of government machinery and the office of the president. The executive arm of government is organized into ministries, departments and agencies. The supervising outfit of the executive arm is referred to as the office of government machinery and it comprises about 19 different units one of which is the office of the president. In actual fact therefore, the staff ceiling from 2018 to 2019 is going through a programme reduction,” he clarified.
Many expressed concern over the list of 998 staff at the presidency presented to Parliament in April 2018 in compliance with Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463), which requires the President to submit annually to Parliament, a report on the staffing position of the Office of the President.
President of policy think tank, Imani Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, at the time said the number of presidential staffers presented to parliament by the presidency, made his predecessor John Mahama seem like a frugal saint.
Comparison between the lists presented by Mr Mahama and that of Nana Akufo-Addo’s 998 showed an increase of about 300 personnel.
Franklin Cudjoe said the government was rationalising waste.