Reduce the number of ministers – Majority leader suggests to the executive
Parliament Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has suggested a reduction in the number of state ministers.
According to him, fewer ministers than currently exist will reduce the pressure on public funds.
Speaking at a public lecture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on Tuesday, he explained that based on the 1992 Constitution, the President is mandated to appoint up to nineteen ministers.
These ministers are then required to assist the president in formulating policies and principles for governing the country.
Under this constitutional arrangement, ministers who are not part of the cabinet do not have the opportunity to sit at the decision-making table.
The majority leader therefore postulated that it is not necessary to appoint many ministers, when in fact only nineteen ministers are needed to decide government policies.
“The Constitution provides in Article 76(1) that there shall be a Cabinet consisting of the President, the Vice President and up to nineteen Ministers of State.
Given the role of cabinet ministers, which is to lead the state effectively and to help the president determine the policy of his government, I am of the opinion that apart from the regional ministers, the number of central government ministers shall not exceed 19 as contained in the Constitution.
And this means that the ministries will also not have to exceed 19.
All ministers, to be relevant and to be able to help in the development and determination of policies in their sectors, must be ministers.
Surplus figures must be cut and this will significantly reduce public spending. For the avoidance of doubt, the Constitution must provide for this,” he explained.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also added that there is a need for the state to consider competent individuals for various ministerial positions. This, he said, will contribute to the development of the country as a whole.
The Majority Leader’s appeal comes at a time when concerns are already high that the government will need to cut the number of ministers.
Currently, Ghana has about 123 Ministers of State. This generated widespread criticism with calls for the government to reduce the number.
However, in response to a similar suggestion, President Akufo-Addo explained that there were a lot of issues to be resolved, hence the need for more hands.
But some civil society organizations disagree with the president’s explanation; arguing that the increase in the number of ministers empties the state coffers.
Meanwhile, Ghana is currently engaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help balance its books.
Regarding this development, JoyNews learned that the International Monetary Fund will not be able to take a decision on whether to conclude an agreement with Ghana in the first quarter of 2023 at the earliest.
This is according to sources close to the Fund.
A source in the parliament’s finance committee who was aware of the conversations with the IMF said JoyNews’ Parliamentary correspondent, Kwaku Asante, that the Fund is seriously concerned about the country’s debt position and will undertake a debt sustainability analysis before agreeing a deal with the government.