Right time to cut size of gov’t – economist


The President of Africa Investment Group, Dr. Sam Ankrah, has backed calls by the Majority Leader of Parliament and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, to amend the constitution to place ceiling on the size of government.

He said the lawmaker’s submission to, among other things, amend the constitution to limit the size of government ministers to 19, and the appointing powers of the President, could be a long-term austerity measure capable of transforming the economic fortunes of the country.

“I totally agree with Mr. Kyei-Mensah Bonsu that things cannot continue this way if we are to see the sort of development we desire,” Dr. Ankrah, a fellow of Chartered Institute of Economists -Ghana, said.

He said it would save the state the millions government spends to maintain ministries and help to curb constant budget overruns.

Beyond this, he said: “We must consider as well, a merger of some state agencies, as there exist some wasteful duplication of roles, with their attendant burden on the state’s resources”; adding that: “With the current duplication of roles, institutions sometimes are either at a loss, or up in arms over who should take up which roles and responsibilities. When done right, there will be more efficiency in service delivery and value for money for the taxpayer”.

Regarding the veteran lawmaker’s concerns over the excessive appointing powers of the President, Dr.  Ankrah said appointments of certain heads of public institution like the Electoral Commission, Attorney General and Minister of Justice must be bi-partisan, as those appointments transcend political regimes.

Explaining further, he said: “History has taught us that although such appointees have been largely independent in their deliberations, they are presumed to lean loyal to the political ideologies of the appointing President. So I believe, a committee made up of equal membership and equal authority, drawn from the two leading parties in Parliament should be constituted to jointly nominate someone they’re both comfortable with, to be appointed by the President”.

He said same should be done for the appointment of the National Development Planning Commission, the Attorney-General (ceded of the Ministry of Justice), the Inspector-General of Police, among others, to establish a stronger degree of political and public trust and support for decisions they take.

On the Majority Leader’s opinion on the relevance of a Vice President in the absence of the President, he said: In terms of function, the Majority Leader is right; however, I am of the strong opinion that the Office of the Vice President must be maintained.”

He explained that in order to preserve the peace and political stability of the country, it’s an investment worth sustaining.

The Majority Leader, who is one of the longest serving members of Parliament, spoke at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and called for a wide range of amendments to the 1992 republican constitution in order to reverse the dwindling fortunes of the country.


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