General News of Monday, 26 November 2018
Government has dismissed claims by the Minority in Parliament that it’s planning to increase the number of staff at the Office of President Akufo-Addo from 998 to 1,614.
According to government, the claims by the Minority are completely false and must be ignored by all sincere Ghanaians.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, made this known in Accra during the bi-weekly press briefing by the Ministry of Information.
In setting the record straight, he referred to the 2018 Budget Statement.
Mr. Nkrumah stated emphatically: “So contrary to the claim of an increase in number of staff, there is rather a reduction in numbers by 69 specifically at the Office of the President and a net reduction of 83 in all at the entire Office of Government Machinery.”
The minister added: “The claim of an increase is because the Minority is comparing the Office of the President (998 in 2018), which was part of the 1,697 ceiling, with the entire Office of Government Machinery ceiling for 2019 (1614).”
“This type of analysis can only be done under one of two circumstances: if the maker confuses OGM & OOP. The two are different – if the maker is being deliberately mischievous.”
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Constituency Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who claimed to be following the footsteps of his political godfather, Ato Ahwoi, ran to radio stations to allege that staff at the Office of the President have further been increased from the over 990 reported to Parliament.
In 2017, President Akufo-Addo, in accordance with Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463), presented a total number of 998 as workers at the Jubilee House to Parliament.
But after Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta presented the 2019 Budget Statement on the floor of Parliament on November 15, 2018, members of the Minority claimed the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration was scheming to increase the number of staff at the Office of the President from 988 to 1614, saying that that would represent an introduction of additional 616 staffers.
The Minority came under pressure to provide evidence to buttress their point, which led them to refer to the 2019 Budget.
The Minority had vowed to resist any attempt by government to increase the number of presidential staffers, arguing that an increase in the number of the presidential staffers would burden the public purse.
Contributing to the debate on the 2019 Budget on the floor of Parliament, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa described the purported increase in the number of presidential staffers as outrageous.
According to Ablakwa, “998 Ghanaians were outraged and you are increasing it to 1,614.”
Lack of Understanding
But Mr. Oppong Nkrumah called on Ghanaians to “ignore false reports of increase in staffers at the Office of the President.”
He stated that “the makers of the claim have either confused Office of Government Machinery (OGM) with Office of the President (OOP) or are only up to political mischief. Contrary to the claim, staff numbers at the Office of the President and even the Office of Government machinery are rather going through a programmed reduction.
Continuing, he said, “Government pleads with the media that to preserve the sanctity of facts in public discourse, kindly subject people who make claims on facts to strict empirical proof before giving them space to peddle such claims which can have significant effects.”
“There is a clear difference between OGM and OOP. The executive arm of government is organized into ministries, departments and agencies. The supervising outfit of the executive arm is referred to as Office of Government Machinery. It comprises 19 different units, one of which is the Office of the President.”
“In 2018, established posts for OGM was 1,697; in 2019, it has rather been reduced to 1,614 (insert extracts from budget statement) so indeed the established posts at OGM reduced between 2018 and 2019. It has reduced, not increased.”
“Contrary to the claim peddled last week, there is rather a net reduction of 83 staff members at the OGM by year end 2019. This will mostly be as a result of retirement of personnel who are not being replaced.”