France is a Super Power with Veto rights at the United Nations; a Unitary Semi-Presidential Republic and official nuclear weapons State; and, she is a ‘developed country’ with the world’s sixth largest economy.
Covering a land mass of 643,801 square kilometers with a population of over 67 million people, it is divided into 18 regions, five of which are removed from the mainland in Western Europe.
On the 7th of May, France’ presidential election entered its final round and resulted in the election of 39-year old Emmanuel Macron. On the 14th of May, Mr. Macron was sworn in to replace Francoise Holland and by 17th May, he had appointed a Prime Minister who had worked together with him to set up government.
President Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe have appointed a total of 22 ministers to run France. France is a longstanding donor to Ghana.
Ghana is a poor country which a little over a decade ago was classified as Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC); her Economy ranks 72nd in the world; this West African country covers a landmass of 238,535 square kilometers, which is divided into 10 regions, with a population size of 27 million.
On the 7th of January, 72-year old Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was elected President; he has since been working at setting in place a government and has so far appointed 110 ministers.
With more appointments still pending, the President announced on the 11th of May that he will complete appointments into his government the end of May.
In the close to five months that the President has been naming his appointees, many key positions, including the Finance Ministry, Justice Ministry and even the Judiciary’s Chief Justice placement have been given to his relatives.
At least, there are 16 relatives of the President in his government.
The appointments have also seen President Akufo-Addo, who had promised to run a lean government when he was on the campaign trail creating strange positions, including a “Senior Minister” portfolio and the Ministry of Regional Re-Organization & Development.
Interestingly, a plan to create just four more additional regions in the country, which essentially are going to be carved out of the 10 already existent regions, which has led to the creation of a whole Ministry, starts in 2018.
Observers have pointed out that the extra ministries that the President has created are totally unnecessary, as they duplicate functions of existing Ministries.
The Business Development Ministry, for instance, flies in the face of the Trade and Industry Ministry as the Railway Development and Aviation Ministries, come in spite of the existence of Transport Ministry. President Akufo-Addo has also created a Ministry for “Inner City and Zongo Development” even as there already exists a Ministry for Housing.
As for the “Monitoring and Evaluation” Ministry, it has been ranked as the most amorphous as every Ministry and Department of State has a Monitoring and Evaluation division.
Other amorphous or duplicative ministries created by Akufo-Addo include Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry for Planning and a Ministry for National Security.
Along with the Ministry for National Security, the President has also appointed a National Security Coordinator and National Security Advisor.
In all, President Akufo-Addo in almost five months in office has created 11 more Ministries to existing ones that he had come to meet, bringing the number of Ministries in Ghana to 36.
But these are only the Ministries, some of which have up to three Deputy Ministers.
In the matter of state agencies, the duplicative appointments are even worse. For instance, the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) alone has five Deputy Directors-General, one of them being a brother-in-law of the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia.
Interestingly, President Akufo-Addo, while in opposition, had chastised late President Mills in May 2009 for appointing 74 Ministers and their deputies to run the government.
Again, in March 2013, then Candidate Akufo-Addo had led a charge of NPP bigwigs, including Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku and Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, to chastise President Mahama for appointing some 80 ministers and deputies.
“You are paying your Ministers about Ghc10,000 a month, you are paying your deputies about Ghc9,000 a month, besides that you give them Land Cruisers, you give them Saloon cars; now you have to give them bungalows furnished. You have cooks, you have house boys and you have police protection and free calls and the rest,” Dr. Assibey Yeboah had bitterly complained on radio.
Dr. Assibey Yeboah, who is the ruling NPP’s Member of Parliament for New Juabeng South, has so far not complained about Akufo-Addo’s 110 ministers.
Meanwhile, the Akufo-Addo regime’s over-bloated government size is a kick in the teeth of a 2015 agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the President to cut down the size of government.
In 2015, the IMF had released an 87-page Staff Report detailing Ghana’s programme with the Fund, including information that GoG and IMF had agreed on GoG cutting down the size of government.
According to the report, Government would undertake; with the assistance of the development partners, a comprehensive plan to rationalize the size and increase the efficiency of the civil service and allied service on the payroll.
The related strategic plan was to be ready in December 2015 and was to inform the actual rationalization of staff, which was expected to begin in 2017.
“The Government will undertake, with the assistance of development partners, a comprehensive plan to rationalize the size and increase the efficiency of the civil service and allied services on the payroll. The related strategic plan will be ready in December 2015, the results of which will inform the actual rationalization of staff, which is expected to begin in 2017,” the report had stated.
Even though the $918million program entered into by the erstwhile Mahama regime ends this year, the last tranche of the money was scheduled to be disbursed to Ghana in March 2018.
The program’s aim to give credibility to government policy, have not been totally achieved, creating room for the possibility of a continuation. However, because of President Akufo-Addo’s apparent intent to run a family and friends government, swarming with “jobs for the boys” the regime is now ambivalent about continuing with the IMF program.