It was an error on his part to have quoted GHC3 billion as the figure the NDC spewed in its budget regardless of the relatively smaller number of staffers they employed under their administration; thrice more than that amount actually is what he should have mentioned considering the figures stated in the 2016 Auditor General’s account, Information Minister Mustapha Hamid has said.
Mr. Hamid came under intense ‘bashing’ from NDC members following his comments on Joy FM’s Supermorning Show suggesting that the Akufo-Addo government, despite criticisms about its ‘large’ size of presidential staffers, is operating with a budget more than half less of what John Mahama had.
“…our list, for example, is a little above the President Mahama list but if you look at the budget for office machinery under President Mahama it is way above our budget…For 2017 they had about ¢3 billion but we came in 2017 with about ¢1.5 billion,” he told Daniel Dadzie on the Joy FM Super Morning Show.
Minority members tagged him as a liar after these comments describing his defense as “a desperate effort to justify the unconscionable packing of the presidency with activists of the NPP leading to the submission of a list of 998 presidential staff and evade the intense public anger that has greeted the publication of the list.”
Addressing the issue on the ’21 Minutes with KKB’ show, the Information Minister said documents available from the Auditor General’s office point to the fact that a total amount of 6 billion cedis was actually exhausted by the Mahama administration on the Office of Government Machinery contrary to the over GHC780 billion which was presented by the NDC as the amount spent.
“You know that it is in pages 21 and pages 22 of the Auditor General’s report of the 2016 public accounts that that thing that they presented to you that they spent about 780 million for Office of Government Machinery, that is what they submitted in the beginning of the year to spend, the media review upped it to 3 billion by the end of the year. Auditor General says they spent 6 billion, I actually even put out 3 billion, apparently I had underestimated it, it is 6 billion and I have the records. Go and take the 2016 Auditor General’s report on audited accounts of the Office of Government Machinery, so projections are different from actual spend. They projected 780 and that’s what they are putting out”, he told host Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng.
He maintained that the NDC was completely inaccurate considering the amount they presented to the public as monies they spent on the Office of Government Machinery during their time.
“They are inaccurate, I’ll give them some respect and not say they are lying but with the greatest of respect to them, they are wrong”, he maintained.
A list of 998 presidential staffers presented by President Akufo-Addo in accordance with Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463) sparked public uproar with many kicking against the large size of employees at the presidency. Per the act, the President is required to submit a report on the staffing position of the Office of the President.
While critics have accused government of failing on its promises to protect the public purse with the huge numbers it has implored under its government, some government officials including Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, in defense have maintained that the number though high is having less effect on the public purse compared to the 678 figure under the Mahama administration.