General News of Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Former Presidential Staffer in the erstwhile Mahama administration, Dr. Clement Apaak, is of the firm conviction that all the 998 Presidential Staffers in the President Akufo-Addo-led NPP government, will be assigned vehicles and drivers per article 71 of the Constitution.
According to him, no Presidential Staffer can be given an assignment without the means to execute it, hence a driver and a vehicle are components of the job, they [Presidential Staffers] will require to efficiently perform.
“When you are a Presidential Staffer, you’re definitely entitled to a vehicle and you’re entitled to a driver as well and I know that this is what is happening with the current Presidential Staffers. You’re given a driver and a car because when you are given a job to do, you must carry it out and so those are necessary components of the job”, he stressed.
He disclosed that during the era of former President Mahama, in order to save and protect the public purse, all the 678 Presidential Staffers were given Toyota Camry Salon Cars.
“…those 4×4 vehicles and drivers by the transport department were the ones whose jobs demanded their presence outside the national capital,” he added.
“That’s why when we were in power, we worked with 678 staffers but this government came and appointed 998 staffers. And we have an indication the number will go up. We don’t have to keep quiet; all these have implications for the public purse,” Dr. Clement Apaak stressed.
Last week, the Minority in Parliament claimed the Nana Addo government was seeking to increase the number of Presidential Staffers from 998 to 1614 in 2019 but the Minister of Information, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah came out to debunk the NDC’s claim.
The Minister of Information said the opposition party was either confused with the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) and Office of the President or seeking to do political mischief.
“The claim of an increase is because the minority is comparing Office of the President (998 in 2018) which was part of the 1697 ceiling, with the entire Office of Government Machinery ceiling for 2019 (1614). So, indeed the established posts at OGM have reduced between 2018 and 2019. It has reduced not increased. This type of analysis can only be done under 1 of two circumstances: If the maker confuses OGM & OOP. The two are different. If the maker is being deliberately mischievous”, he schooled.
He mentioned specifically that the staffers at the Office of the President is expected to reduce by 69 and a net reduction of 83 staff at the Office of Government Machinery by end of 2019, with the reason that the retirees are not being replaced.
But reacting to it on Okay FM’s “Ade Akye Abia” Morning Show, Dr, Clement Apaak, NDC MP for Bulsa South in the Upper East Region, said the NDC is only raising concerns about the tendency of Akufo Addo government to increase its “obesity government” as it has cost implication on Ghanaians.
“It is all about protecting the public purse and so when we raise this issue, it is not because we are trying to talk down or insult the President or his government but our citizens, we have every right to point out if and when we see the indications to suggest that contrary to promises that the President has made to protect the public purse, some of these tendencies clearly point to the opposite direction…”, he added.
He reminded Akufo Addo government that “you cannot agree that Ghana is hard, conditions are challenging and at the same time, you are continuously engaging in practises that will dissipate the public purse”.
He therefore challenged the Akufo-Addo government to produce the list of all the staff at the office of the President for proper interrogation in Parliament as the law stipulates.
“If the Minister is seeking to deny what we are drawing the attention of Ghanaians to, I will ask that we all save his comment and the newspaper which has publish this information. The right time will come and the law has it that the Presidency will have to furnish Parliament the full list of all the staff at the Office of the President…we will use that to compare with what the Minister and his government are claiming”, Dr Speak stressed.