Politics

 ‘Facts are sacred’: Ablakwa jabs gov’t over bloated OGM staff


Member of Parliament for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has joined calls for the government to reduce the number of workers that constitute the Office of Government Machinery (OGM).

In the view of the North Tongu MP, after appointing 111 ministers, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo does not need the 2019 projection of 1,1614 staff for the OGM.

“As I stated during the debate in Parliament, this Government is able to expand the OGM staff ceiling by over 600 and yet the Office of the Special Prosecutor is given a ceiling of only 12.

“This Government is able to create fiscal space by some GHS 30,607,240 to balloon the already obese OGM and yet CHRAJ’s 2019 allocation has been cut by some GHS 617,351. I couldn’t agree more with the Catholic Bishops Conference that it’s time for President Akufo-Addo to walk the talk in his so-called fight against corruption,” Mr Ablakwa wrote in an opinion piece.

Meanwhile, Information Minister, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said contrary to claims of an increase in the staff establishment numbers at the Office of the President in 2019, the number will reduce by 69.

He said the peddlers of the allegation of an increase in the numbers were rather confusing the OGM with that of the Office of the President.

He explained that the reduction was mostly as a result of retirements which are not being replaced.

The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has been having a difficult time defending what many say is the high number of staff at the Presidency.

When it was in opposition, the NPP criticised former President John Mahama administration for presenting of a list of 678 staff to Parliament in 2013, describing the numbers as “wasteful” and “unnecessary”.

However, on Friday, April 20, 2018, the ruling NPP government submitted a total number of 998 workers to Parliament. There are 706 Employees of Public Sector Organisations, 27 Presidential Staffers, 256 Junior Appointees and 9 Ministers of State.

Photo: Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

Read Mr Ablakwa’s full comments on the matter below.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP) writes:

Facts are sacred.

Appendix 7 on Page 216 of the 2019 Budget Statement clearly reveals that Government’s projection of staff at the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) for 2019 is 1,614 at a cost of GHS 110,000,000.

Ceiling-list-OGM

The only actual we have at this moment is that of 2017 which was presented to Parliament and for which we were informed that 998 staff work at the OGM.

Understandably, we do not have the 2018 actual as per Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, 1993, Act 463; we would only know when the report is presented to Parliament within the first three months of next year.

We may also want to bear in mind that the Akufo-Addo Administration exceeded their 2017 ceiling of 953 by 45 as confirmed by their infamous report to Parliament which pointed to 998 OGM staff.

With this record, we should perhaps fast and pray that the 2019 ceiling of 1,614 is also not exceeded.

As I stated during the debate in Parliament, this Government is able to expand the OGM staff ceiling by over 600 and yet the Office of the Special Prosecutor is given a ceiling of only 12.

This Government is able to create fiscal space by some GHS 30,607,240 to balloon the already obese OGM and yet CHRAJ’s 2019 allocation has been cut by some GHS 617,351. I couldn’t agree more with the Catholic Bishops Conference that it’s time for President Akufo-Addo to walk the talk in his so-called fight against corruption.

The fundamental question still is – does Ghana need thousands of OGM staff especially after appointing 111 Ministers?

And at a time Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta concedes at paragraph 10 of the 2019 Budget Statement that – “we are not proud of the fact that there is still hardship in the country” – is this the best use of the taxes from the overtaxed Ghanaian whom Government admits is laden with hardship?

So instead of attacking me and sending your Rottweilers after me, could you rather cure your penchant for humongous and wasteful bureaucracy? It’s not too late to amend the Budget Statement you know.

Instead of the obfuscation, why not show genuine sensitivity and respect to the Ghanaian by acknowledging their outrage and reversing this plunder and abuse of office.

Whatever happened to protecting the public purse?

 



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