Dr. Vladimir Antwui-Danso, Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to consider a minimum size government during his second term.
He said that a lean government would reduce costs and increase the efficiency of the use of forces by working hard.
Dr Antwui-Danso made this appeal in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The Dean said this was mandated by the 1992 Constitution: �The Cabinet consists of the President, the Vice-President and a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 19 Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
He explained that the Constitution provides for a maximum of 19 ministers in the Cabinet, but that the President can appoint additional ministers (who are not members of the Cabinet) beyond that number according to his agenda.
He said the previous Akufo-Addo government had about 110 ministers, simply because of the kind of program it set up, and said they needed all those ministers to deliver the program.
However, following the creation of the 16 new regions in 2019, additional regional ministers and their deputies were appointed by the President.
Dr Antui-Danso said that it is always very difficult to advise the government on the number of ministers, but a small stab in the dark in the political sciences will show that the higher the number of ministers, the greater the government’s expenditure, the greater the duplication of functions and the greater the bureaucracy.
And so many intellectuals have always argued that the government should be modest; modesty means having a small cabinet/number of ministers, but that is the ideal.
According to him, Ghanaians will always be torn between the ideal of a lean government and the need to have a large cabinet and a large number of ministers to implement the programme.
I will always argue for a lean government that knows the waste we have in our system in our part of the world completely well, he said.
There are so many unnecessary expenses in Africa and the more you open ministries, the more you are forced to spend.
Dr Antwi-Danso said he expected President Akufo-Addo’s next cabinet not to be as big as the previous one, as it seems that the agenda of the government’s first term is largely fulfilled.
He noted that departments such as the Department of Railways could be merged with other departments to form a single department for many of them.
According to the government’s agenda, I expect the following departments to be smaller than those of the previous government, he said.
The Dean proposed merging the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Motorways and Roads and everything else relating to infrastructure into a single ministry and calling it the Ministry of Motorways and Roads or the Ministry of Infrastructure, adding that this would only cost the Minister and his deputy more work than if they had been separated.
He said the only thing that weakens it is that, according to the same constitution, the president has to appoint most of his ministers from parliament, and he added that this weakens it enough, he is a parliamentarian, he is a minister and everything is fine.
So maybe we should spread it around, and that’ll make the department a little bigger. But in general we learn from our experiences.
He remembered that the then presidential candidate, John Agyekum Kufuor, had sterilized his previous government with a larger government of about 80 ministers, but when he took office, he saw that he needed more and then apologized to the people.
On the other hand, we have a government that came in with 110 ministers, all in the name of good governance, he said.
Dr Antwi-Danso noted that according to President Akufo-Addo’s agenda for his second term, the Ghanaians will soon see how many ministers he will appoint, saying that this time I do not expect large ministries.
Dean argued that a lean government is ideal, but when it is necessary to create ministries to deliver a particular program, Ghanaians must allow the government to do so.
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