Parliamentary Appointment Committee set to show leadership in vetting 2021 ministers

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Palgrave BOAKYE-DANQUAH

A 26-member committee with 13 members from each caucus make up the 2021 Appointment Committee. This committee is set to approve persons nominated by the president for appointments like Ministers of State, Deputy Ministers, the Chief Justice and others specified under the constitution or under any other enactment.

The Appointment Committee of Parliament commenced vetting persons appointed by the president for his second administration from February 10, 2021. The committee will give priority to the vetting and appointment of key ministers-designate, focusing more on the ministers-designate for security, health and finance. This, they believe, will ensure an effective and functional government in Ghana. The vetting process began yesterday, February 10, 2021, and ends on March 9, 2021.

The Minister-Designate for National Security, Ken Dapaah, and Minister-Designate for Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, were the first nominees to face the committee. Certain portfolios have been prioritised because of the nature of their job. The appointed health minister was the first to be vetted because he must get to work as the COVID-19 cases in the country continue to rise.

The Appointment Committee is chaired by First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu. Alexander Afenyo-Markin will serve as Vice-Chair of the committee. Members of the Appointment Committee from the Majority Caucus are John Ntim Fodjour, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, Patrick Yaw Boamah, Dr. Mathew O. Prempeh, Henry Quartey, Bryan Acheampong, Ursula G. Owusu-Ekuful, Patricia Appiagyei, Osei Bonsu Amoah, Alhassan Tampoli and John Kumah.

Members of the minority caucus are Mahama Ayariga, Sampson Ahi, Eric Opoku, Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, James Agalga, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Alhassan Suhuyini, Francis Xavier Sosu, Zuwera Mohammed Ibrahim, and Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui. Haruna Iddrisu will serve as the Ranking Member and Mubarak Muntaka as Deputy Ranking Member.

Below is the vetting schedule that will run through February to March 9, 2021.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2021 
Hon. Kwaku Agyeman ManuMinister-Designate For Health
Mr. Ken DapaahMinister-Designate for National Security
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2021 
Hon. Dominic NitiwulMinister-Designate for Defence
Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei AdutwumMinister-Designate for Education
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2021 
Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah BonsuMinister-Designate for Parliamentary Affairs
Mr. Godfred DameAttorney-General and Minister-Designate for Justice
Hon. Ambrose DeryMinister-Designate for Interior
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2021 
Hon. Matthew Opoku PrempehMinister-Designate for Energy
Ms. Shirley Ayorkor BotchweyMinister-Designate for Foreign Affairs.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2021 
Hon. Kwasi Amoako- AttaMinister Designate for Roads and Highways
Hon Mrs. Ursula Owusu-EkufulMinister Designate for Communication and Digitisation.
Mr. Ken Ofori-AttaMinister-Designate for Finance
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2021 
Hon. Ignatius Baffour AwuahMinister-Designate For Employment And Labour Relations
Hon. Dan BotweMinister-Designate for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development
Hon Sarah Adwoa SafoMinister-Designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021 
Hon. Mavis Hawa KoomsonMinister-Designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture
Hon. Kojo Oppong NkrumahMinister-Designate for Information
 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2021

 
Hon. Dr. Kwaku AfriyieMinister-Designate for Environment Science, Technology, and Innovation
Dr. Owusu Afriyie AkotoMinister for Food and Agriculture
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021 
Ms. Cecilia DapaahMinister-Designate For Sanitation And Water Resources.
Mr. Kwaku Ofori AsiamahMinister-Designate for Transport
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021 
Hon. Joseph CudjoeMinister-Designate for Public Enterprises
Hon. Freda PrempehMinister-Designate for Works & Housing (Minister of State)
Hon. Samuel Abdul JinaporMinister-Designate for Lands and Natural Resources
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2021 
Hon. John Peter AmewuMinister-Designate for Railway Development
Hon. Francis Asenso BoakyeMinister-Designate for Works & Housing
Mr. Awal MohammedMinister for Tourism, Arts and Culture
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2021 
Hon. Mustapha YussifMinister-Designate for Youth and Sports
Hon. Ebenezer Kojo KumMinister-Designate for Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs.
Mr. Alan KyeremantenMinister Designate for Trade and Industry
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2021 
Hon. Kwabena Okyere Darko MensahMinister-Designate for Western Region
Hon. Henry QuarteyMinister-Designate for Greater Accra
Mr. Seth AcheampongMinister-Designate for Eastern Region
Monday, March 1, 2021 
Mr. George BoakyeMinister-Designate for Ahafo Region
Mr. Simon Osei-MensahMinister-Designate for Ashanti Region
Ms. Justina Owusu- BanaheneMinister-Designate for Bono Region
 

TUESDAY MARCH 2, 2021

 
Mr. Adu GyanMinister-Designate for Bono East Region
Ms. Justina Marigold AssanMinister-Designate for Central Region
Mr. Shani Alhassan SaibuMinister-Designate for Northern Region
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2021 
Mr. Yidana ZakariaMinister-Designate for North East Region
Mr. Joseph MakubuMinister-Designate for Oti Region
Mr. Saeed Muhazu JibrilMinister-Designate for Savannah Region
THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2021 
Mr. Stephen YakubuMinister-Designate for Upper East Region
Dr. Hafiz Bin SalihMinister-Designate for Upper West Region
Dr. Archibald Yao LetsaMinister-Designate for Volta Region
FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2021 
Mr. Richard ObengMinister-Designate for Western North Region

 

President Akufo-Addo’s second term is expected to have not more than 85 ministers in his administration. The names that have been submitted to Parliament for vetting and approval include new entrants; some being elevated from their previous positions; those with new designations; and those who have maintained their portfolios. We believe all these appointed ministers are up to the task, be it in the same designation or a different position.

The ministers-designate are expected to take turns answering questions from members of the committee about themselves and the various ministries they will be managing.  Although the president maintained many of the appointees from his first term, a few notable ones did not make the cut.

Parliament has also urged members of the public with questions for any of the ministers-designate to make them available to the vetting committee before the vetting process begins. The vetting committee, we believe, will stay above partisan politics.

Having 13 people from the NPP and another 13 from the opposition NDC will give an opportunity for them to choose wisely people who are fit for the positions. It is their duty as good citizens on the panel not to act blindly but open their eyes and ears widely in this vetting task, as this is a great task and must not be trivialised.

The par created in the 2021 Appointment Committee is a first step to prove the competence of all 26 members. Unlike previous years when the majority caucus was privileged with more members on the Appointment Committee, this year’s Appointment Committee’s verdict must be of much even-handedness. The minority caucus has an even share in decision-making, and this shows a high level of democracy in the 8th Parliament. The Appointment Committee is comprised of persons with satisfactory track-records which make them proficient to examine and approve those nominated by the president.

Ken Ofori-Atta was the Finance Minister in Akufo- Addo’s first term of office, and is now the Minister-Designate in his second term. Most people in the opposition see him as someone who mismanaged funds in his first term as Finance Minister, in connection with the Agyapa Royalties deals. To the opposition, Hon Ken used dubious means to sign this contract without passing through the right channels.

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, in 2020 concluded that the Agyapa deal – that is, the Gold Royalties Monetisation Transaction arrangement – was not transparent and could give rise to corruption. Most of the ministers and MPs of the opposition party wanted him sacked because they believed this transaction was a bid-rigging and corruption activity. The president has however again appointed him in his second term to be the Finance Minister. The question that’s going to asked is: “Is he competent enough to have a second term of handling the country’s finances?”

The president, in his eighth address to the nation on the updates of government’s intervention in the fight against coronavirus, announced the construction of hospitals in some 88 districts across the country. He said they would in the year 2020 begin to construct 88 hospitals in those districts without hospitals.

These hospitals, he said, will be quality standard-designed 100-bed hospitals with accommodation for doctors, nurses and other health workers. Most Ghanaians were of the view that this promise could not be fulfilled within a year. The 88 hospitals were not fulfilled in the year 2020. As the Minister-Designate for Health, what will Hon Kwaku Agyeman Manu do to ensure that these promises are fulfilled in the Health sector?

As an institute that has the country’s interests at heart, Kandifo Institute is expecting that the Appointed Committee – be it opposition or not – will be able to rise above leadership that impacts the continuity of Ghana’s development negatively. Kandifo Institute urges the Appointment Committee to rise above partisanship to maintain their set records of integrity. The equal distribution of power demands more patriotism in the final verdict.

As lawmakers, progress and development should be in view – not party differences.  The damage partisanship has already caused Ghana over the years is evident.  There is a charge to keep as an Appointed Committee member, and that is: “It is time to define what being a Ghanaian ought to mean. Being a Ghanaian must mean you sign-up to a definable code of conduct,” president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo said.

The president submitted a list of 46 persons expected to occupy ministerial positions to help him in his next four years, on January 21, 2021. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Former Deputy Minister of Education, and Godfred Dame, Former Deputy Attorney General, were aggrandised to serve as Minister of Education and Attorney-General and Minister for Justice respectively. Seven ministries have been either absorbed or aligned to other ministries.

Taking a critical look at certain ministries which undertake some flagship programmes of the NPP, the ministers designated are those who served in the president’s former administration. Considering ministries like Trade and Industry, Information, Communications, Interior, Food and Agriculture and others, the ministers were appointed to reoccupy their offices. This shows how zealous the president is to achieve all flagship projects. The ministries which were previously set up to initiate certain tasks have been excluded from the new list received.

>>>Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, Executive Director, Kandifo Institute. He can be reached on [email protected]

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