Too Many Ministers
The Director of Legal Policy and Governance of the Center for Democracy (CDD-Ghana), Kwesi Prempeh has re-opened the debate on the size of government and its financial implications for the country with a submission that, some rationalization needs to be brought to the size of the president’s executive. According to him, there is no reason to believe that the numbers of ministers that the country has had in the Fourth Republic is indeed necessary for the efficient running of the state.
“Our experiences so far under different party administrations in this Fourth Republic show that this elastic presidential power to appoint ministers, combined with the implicit constitutional power of the president to create ministries without recourse to specific legislation (which has been given additional statutory grounding in the Civil Service Amendment Act 2001), can very easily lead to a ministerial pool comprising an absurdly high number of ministers – a number far out of proportion to the size of our economy.”
Mr. Prempeh who is also a Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law, USA said a maximum of 38 ministers and deputy ministers is enough for Ghana’s struggling economy. This number does NOT include Regional Ministers.
The Law Professor was delivering a paper on “The Constitution and Economic Governance in Ghana,” at a roundtable discussion last week. In arriving at the 38, Mr. Prempeh said he took a cue from the Constitution, which sets the number of Cabinet at no more than 19 Ministers, plus the president and vice president. “…the total ministerial pool, counting both Cabinet and non-Cabinet ministers as well as their deputies, must be some reasonable multiple of the size of the Cabinet.”
To him, the size of government is problematic, adding, although Constitutional democracy costs money, it must not be needlessly expensive; each item of cost must be justified by the incremental value or benefit to be gained from such cost. “In other words, we may indeed suffer diminishing, not increasing, returns from each additional Minister that a president might appoint beyond a certain point”.
Acting on the authority of the language in Article 78 (2) of the Constitution that the number of ministers must be necessary for the efficient running of the state, and on the fact that the creation of a new ministry has profound budget implication, Mr. Prempeh proposed the passing of a legislation to require that the creation of any new ministry be on the basis of an Act of Parliament specifically approving the setting up such ministry and the appointment of a Minister to head it.
This according to him would mean that each proposed new ministry and ministerial position must be specifically and independently justified by legislation. Mr. Prempeh also criticized the Constitution’s overall lack of cost-consciousness, saying it is evident in its failure to place a numerical ceiling on the size of the Supreme Court.
Source: Network Herald