Ghana’s President has come under fire for appointing an “elephant size” government of 110 ministers.
Nana Akufo-Addo, who promised to cut superfluous government spending, has hit back at his opponents and said this was “a necessary investment” for the small country off Africa’s western coast.
The appointment this week of 50 deputy ministers and four ministers of state in addition to the existing 56 roles make it a record for Ghana and the largest government since the country, of about 27 million inhabitants, adopted a democratic constitution in 1992.
“I’m aware that people are concerned about what they see as maybe the cost of this large government," Akufo-Addo admitted in an interview on national television.
"It is a necessary investment to make for the rapid transformation of this country” he said and added that ministers “are coming to work, it is not going to be a holiday”.
Akufo-Addo was elected in December on a manifesto to fix a host of economic problems and fight corruption.
Meanwhile, Ghana just appointed 110 ministers. Salaries alone will be around 60% of the budget of six infrastructure-related ministries.
— J Toyo (@Gidimeister) March 16, 2017
But the opposition party is less convinced about the benefit of having such a big government.
"We're confronted with an elephant size of government and Akufo-Addo has proven that he's a politician rather than a president," said Haruna Iddrisu, leader of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament.
— Betty Abah (@bettyabah) March 16, 2017
Following from the new wave of ministerial intake, the agriculture ministry now boasts a minister, a minister of state and three deputies. Four other ministries also have three deputies and a minister.
Parliamentary sources told Reuters top government appointees receive monthly salaries of about $4,000 (£3,326) in addition to at least two cars, free fuel, a house, free utilities and personal protection.
"It's a case of jobs for the boys," said politics lecturer Geoffrey Molu, whose comment was echoed on social media and by commentators on Ghana’s radio and TV channels.
Government spokesman Nana Akomea said criticism would stop if the government delivers on its ambitious agenda.
Ghana is one of Africa’s most dynamic economies but its growth slowed down sharply in 2014 following a fiscal crisis.
The UK has a total of 120 ministers for a population of about 65 millions.