Ghana leader defends decision to appoint 110 ministers
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo on Friday defended his controversial decision to appoint a 110-minister government, calling it a "necessary investment" in the small west African country.
The new government nominated Wednesday -- which includes dozens of lower-level and regional ministers -- is a record for Ghana and has sparked a storm of commentary on social media and radio talk shows.
"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 Friday.
"It is a necessary investment to make."
Akufo-Addo, who was elected in December on a promise to fix a host of economic problems and fight corruption, stressed that his ministers "are coming to work, it is not going to be a holiday".
And he insisted the costs of his new government would not be as high as people might think.
"The number, for instance, among the deputy ministers -- 42 out of 50 are all parliamentarians, and in effect converting them from parliamentarians into ministers, the marginal cost of that transformation is minimal in terms of the public exchequer," he said.
The ministers are needed for the "rapid transformation of this country", Akufo-Addo said.
George Lawson, deputy general secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), told AFP that the increase in the number of ministers was "not proper" and charged that Akufo-Addo was giving out "jobs for the boys".
"It's a drain on the Ghanaian economy," he added.
Akufo-Addo came to power in January after beating the NDC's John Dramani Mahama in December's election.
The new president says he has inherited an economy reeling from huge fiscal deficits, rising inflation and high unemployment despite an IMF programme designed to stimulate growth.