Substandard Ministers Retarding Ghana’s Development, Says Majority Leader

Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader in Parliament and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, is calling a spade a spade – he says, substandard ministers are deadweights that are causing retardation of Ghana’s advancement.

According the Member of Parliament for Suame, most ministers appointed by governments, including the Akufo-Addo government, lack the appropriate skill-sets to man portfolios.

“We are in a country where ministers are nominated to certain sectors and when they appear before the appointment committee and you ask them the most rudimentary of questions pertaining to that sector, they are not able to tell you. They only tell you that ‘I’m a new person, let me go there I will learn’ Learn what?

“When the constitution provides that cabinet ministers are to assist the President to run the state efficiently, that is the remit of ministers and if you are a cabinet minister, the additional responsibility on you is to assist the President evolve policies. What of that man who appears before the appointment committee who is asked the most fundamental questions relating to the sector and he tells you ‘I’m going to learn’?

“How is that person going to assist the President to run that sector efficiently?” Mensah-Bonsu said at a press soiree meant to officially define the role of his ministry.

According to him, ministers, who lack understanding about their ministries, are only going to be problematic for the President.

“How is that person going to assist the President to evolve policies in that sector? This is one of the reasons why we are not moving forward as a nation as fast as we should. It’s like the dance of some people that I know. They move one step forward and two steps backwards,” Hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had said.

Even though the Majority Leader had spread the blame to all successive governments, it has not been lost on many people that the cup fits his own government rather well.

The Akufo-Addo government has an Attorney General who has publicly confessed that she was ignorant about a $2.2billion bond that her colleague, the Finance Minister, had issued in March, this year.

And even though the Finance Ministry and the Justice Ministry are within the same bureaucratic enclave, somehow, the Attorney General still managed to remain ignorant of the transaction several weeks after the scandal about the transaction had broken.

Things took a turn for the ridiculous when Gloria Akuffo’s Deputy, Godfred Dame, turned round to defend the Finance Minister in a probe by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Godfred Dame had showed so much savvy about the matter in his defense of Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, even though his boss, AG Gloria Akuffo, had said the whole of the AG’s department did not have any details of the so-called KENBOND transaction.

The same Gloria Akuffo would later profess ignorance of an Ashanti Regional senior State Attorney’s decision to file nolle prosequi, in a case whose evidence had been captured on video, for lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has arrogated to himself, powers to appoint people into government, appointing his sisters Alice and Eno Ofori-Atta, among others, even though per the constitution, only the President has power to make such appointments.

As a pivotal member of the government’s Economic Management team, Ofori-Atta’s first act in office was to contract US-based McKinsey Consultancy as backroom managers of Ghana’s economy.

The same Ofori-Atta has also given a loan to a company called McDan Shipping at the Agricultural Development Bank, even though he is not a member of ADB’s Board, which was not in place at the time he loaned out the money.

When Ken Ofori-Atta issued the $2.25billion bond to Franklin Templeton in March, he had done so without recourse to the Securities and Exchanges Commission and Cabinet – neither had he secured approval from Parliament.

As Ofori-Atta stomps about appointing people in the place of the President, Chief of Staff, Frema Osei-Opare, sits like a toothless bulldog.

In this same NPP government, Sarah Adjoa Safo is Minister for Procurement, even though an electronic platform that has since been established eliminates the human factor in public procurements.

This government’s Education Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has rolled out the flagship Free SHS policy, complete with a logo and an offshore ambassador, but without an implementation manual and policy blueprint. Worst, the project was rolled out without piloting, causing unprecedented problems with the Computer Placement system.

In May, this year, Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, and his Deputy, Major Derek Oduro, publicly split hairs over claims that soldiers were guarding illegal miners in some parts of the country. While Nitiwul had said in one interview that the claim was true, Maj. Oduro had said it was a lie. The different vibes from the Defence Ministry, on the issue, got the public confused as to what the ministry’s position really was.

The whole head butting between the Defence Minister and his Deputy had been instigated by Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu, who had made the claim about soldiers guarding galamseyers, in the first place.

Later, Amewu would be publicly defied by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, who had refused to hand over mineral prospecting machinery belonging to Engineers and Planners over the Nyinahin bauxite concession debacle.

While John Peter Amewu, the sector minister, had said that Exton Cubic, the company which had employed E&P to do clearings on the concession in preparation for prospecting, had a contract, and, therefore, their seized equipment should be returned to them, the Ashanti Regional Minister had said he was not going to hand over the equipment until the Lands Minister himself had personally furnished him with copies of the permit issued to Exton Cubic.

Eventually, John Peter Amewu was whipped into line by the regional minister, recanting his earlier position that Exton Cubic had a genuine permit.

In the Agric sector, Minister for Food and Agriulturec, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who has been described as incompetent, had stood before Parliament and claimed that an outbreak of the fall armyworm invasion had been successfully overcome. At the time he made the claim, the invasion had intensified.

Eventually, his Deputy, William Quaitoo, would grant an interview to a radio station and call Northerners liars and cantankerous, over reports that the fall armyworm invasion in the north had not been contained as the government was claiming.

Quaitoo has since buckled under pressure and resigned.

As President Akufo-Addo’s appointees have been embroiled in a comedy of errors, the President himself has stooped as low as appointing the Public Relations Officer at the Ghana Gas Company.

The Minority in Parliament has since said the President “may soon start appointing cleaners and messengers.”



Source: Fiifi Samuels

The Republic News Online

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