Minority slams Office of Government Machinery reduction claim

Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa

Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa

THE Minority in Parliament has described as “false” claims by the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, that the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) was undergoing a programmed reduction regarding staff numbers.

 

He disputed claims by the North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, during the debate on the 2019 Budget Statement on Wednesday that the staff of OGM had increased from 998 in 2018 to 1,614 in 2019.

 

Mr Nkrumah at a press conference in Accra on Sunday said that contrary to the claim of an increment in the staff numbers for 2019, it would be reduced by 69 staff.

 

But in a sharp rebuttal at a press conference in Parliament yesterday, Mr Ablakwa said the number the minister quoted during the debate was not out of vacuum, but as captured by the fiscal policy document presented by Minister of Finance.

 

“It is incontrovertible that government has made a provision of GH¢110 million to engage a staff of 1,614 for 2019″, he stated, and asked: “how can 1,614 in comparison to 998 be a programmed reduction?”

 

In the view of the Minority, government was unwilling to accept the “fact” that the 998 staff generated an uproar last year.

 

On Mr Nkrumah’s position that the Minority was confusing the Office of the President and OGM, Mr Ablakwa said the budget statement only captured the OGM and not the Office of the President.

 

“What the minister failed to realise by this disingenuous attack on the Minority is that if we are to agree with him that the 998 staff reported to Parliament in March 2018 refers to the Office of the President and not the entire OGM, then it makes the matter even worse.

 

“It presupposes that government underreported to Parliament and that the 998 figure was far below the reality. Clearly, the Minister did not help government’s case and this only happens when you try to spin facts which are so obvious and sacred”, Mr Ablakwa said.

 

According to him, the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government is “simply too large, wasteful and humongous.”

 

“We cannot continue on this reckless and insensitive trajectory. For a government that has already appointed 111 Ministers and yet living conditions are deteriorating as government itself concedes, we owe it to the people who elected us and sent us here to raise these matters and more importantly mobilise resistance to stop this unwarranted plunder of the tax payer’s money.”

 

President Akufo-Addo, Mr Ablakwa stated, did not mean it when he said at his inauguration that he would protect the public purse.

 

Mr Ablakwa said the Minority was resolved to do everything within its power to prevent what he said was the continuous rape of the public purse.

 

“We demand, therefore, that government amends downward and significantly the ceiling of staff at the OGM. It is the height of insensitivity and indeed an insult to Ghanaians who only a few months ago vehemently opposed the infamous 998 OGM staff only to be confronted with a much bigger ceiling of 1,664 in 2019 by a government that refuses to listen,” he said.

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