President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has defended his decision to create two portfolios of ministerial rank in addition to the ministers of agriculture and education.
He said the ministers of state responsible for agriculture and education were appointed because the two sectors were critical areas which needed additional talents to enable his government succeed.
After announcing the final batch of ministers of central government on February 10, President Akufo-Addo came out with the two new ministerial portfolios to operate under the Office of the President.
Critics have questioned the creation of the two ministerial positions in addition to the ministers of education and agriculture, with their deputies, describing them as superfluous.
At the swearing-in of the ministers on Tuesday night at the Flagstaff House, President Akufo-Addo used the occasion to explain the rationale for the creation of the two ministers.
“The ministry of education is one of the largest in our state machinery, dealing with all aspects in our educational structure, from kindergarten to the tertiary level. Each level has its own pre-occupation, none more so, than the tertiary stage.”
“The resolution of the issues and challenges of that part of the educational establishment (tertiary) is absolutely essential to the health of our educational system, and thereby the health of our nation,” he said.
The President indicated that the appointment of Prof. Kwesi Yankah, an accomplished academician, for the position of Minister of State responsible for Tertiary Education was in the right direction.
On the minister of state responsible for agriculture, he said the appointment would help strengthen the sector because a successful agricultural sector would ensure a successful economy.
President Akufo-Addo said the agricultural sector had been in systematic decline in recent times and stressed the need to address that trend.
“An energetic knowledgeable minister has been appointed to mastermind its revival. He is supported by dynamic deputy ministers who are also knowledgeable in their various fields.”
“The missing link is the presence of the centre of the ministry of an experienced, politically astute administrator of the agricultural sector who can complement the work of the ministry.”
“Dr Gyeile Nurah, former respected chief director of the Ministry of Agriculture fits the bill superbly. I am very happy to have him on board as the Minister of state for Agriculture,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo also swore in the Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo as minister of state responsible for Public Procurement and explained that the function of the portfolio would not conflict with the Public Procurement Authority.
“It has been established, elsewhere, that a person of ministerial rank with oversight responsibility for the operations of the procurement law can help ensure not only its observance but also its effectiveness.”
“It is not the minister’s business to interfere in the administration of the law but to keep the President fully briefed of its workings.
We want to ensure that sole sourcing is confined to the exceptional circumstance provided for in the law,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo described Dome Kwabenya MP as one of the rising young politicians with deep acquaintance in procurement issues to handle that important assignment.
On Mr Bryan Acheampong’s appointment as the minister of state, the President said the portfolio under the Office of the President would be purely political.
He expressed confidence that the inclusion of Mr Acheampong would be a valuable addition to his team of government.
He urged the four ministers to be good team players and support the collective commitment of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to provide an honest and competent government to Ghanaians.
By Yaw Kyei