General News of Saturday, 24 November 2018
The Member of Parliament for the Sekondi constituency, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, has debunked claims that the government is increasing the number of its presidential staffers from 998 to 1,614.
The legislator, who is also a member of the governing New Patriotic Party’s communications team said the indication of 1,614 presidential staffers in the 2019 budget was only a staff limit imposed on the office of government machinery by the Finance Ministry and not an indication of a plan to increase the number of staffers.
“There has been no jump in the numbers. The 1,614 [staffers] is only a ceiling that has been provided for in the budget. What that means is that owing to some request that the presidency had made in the discussion with the finance ministry, approval has been given for up to that number to be recruited. So we don’t have that number [now]. It could get there or it may not get there. The information I have is that the 998 will not change,” he told host of The Big Issue, Selorm Adonoo on Saturday.
The claim that the government had planned to increase the number of presidential staffers became a subject for discussion in Parliament earlier this week when the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa raised it on the Floor of the House.
He said the planned move by the government smacks of insensitivity on the part of the government especially as many Ghanaians continue to lament over difficult economic times.
“I am deeply, deeply worried about the refusal of President Akufo Addo’s government to listen to the people of this country. When the presidential staffers list of 998 was presented to this house, there was national outrage, we are informed that the office of government machinery, government intends to employ 1,614 people,” he said.
The President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe also criticized the government over the matter saying the planned increment was a waste of money.
But the Sekondi MP described such comments as mischievous.
He accused members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of trying to misinform Ghanaians to cause disaffection for the government.
“If you look in the 2018 budget, the ceiling that was approved for the office of government machinery was higher than the 1,614, it was 1,697 but we are here talking about 998. The impression that is being created out there is wrong. Because of the politicking and the mischief that my friends want to create, they have gone to town to suggest to the people of Ghana that it is a bloated government. Ceilings are not actuals,” he noted.
Andrew Egyapa Mercer further indicated that the budgetary allocation to the office of government machinery had been reduced from GHS 119 million in 2018 to $110 million in 2019.