Scrap Council of State; there are millions of people who can advise the president for free – Agyemang-Duah

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A Governance Expert and Former United Nations Senior Advisor, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, has said the Council of State should be abolished due to the financial difficulties facing the government and the country in general.

In his view, there are millions of experts who are willing to submit papers advising the president on key issues in the country without charging a dime.

Asked whether in his view the Council of State is still relevant while speaking on the New Day show on TV3 with Johnnie Hughes Monday March 28, he answered ” A good friend of mine at CDD said if a president of this country and for that matter any country needs advise, that president can call any of the 30 million people that we have in this country.

“So in other words, the argument he made was that is there a need at all to constitute a body of 35 and to be paying them, giving them vehicles and all these benefits when in fact an advise giving to the president is not binding.

“So, one will question the relevance unless there is a way to shape it up to form it in a way but still if it is only to render advise then I will suggest, even though members of the council are experienced people, they are highly respectable people, I respect all of them, but I believe that there are some experts who can easily put together a paper to advise the president on any issue that comes up.

“All I am saying is that if it is a matter of advise, the president has the right to call any of the 30 million people for advise and not pay for it. “

“In a larger scheme of things especially, if you looking at our budgetary challenges then it will be one of the intuitions that personally I will recommend not to be retained,” he said when asked whether the Council should be abolished.

Prof Baffuor Ageymang-Duah earlier commended the Council of State members for reducing their allowances by 20 percent due to the economic challenges facing the country.

In his view, this decision demonstrates that they recognize the challenges facing the country at the moment.

on the mid day news on Wednesday March 23, Prof Agyemang-Duah who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the John Agyekum Kuffuor Foundation said “I think it is exemplary of the Council of state. As the chairman said, their decision follows that of government to reduce allowances of government appointees. So on the two fronts; we are beginning to see some visible changes towards the crisis we have but this is just the beginning.

“Regarding the government’s own decision to reduce salaries of the appointees, I think that is also is good, I hear it is about 30 per cent. But salary reductions are part of what I will call the invisibles because people don’t see, all they know is that salaries have been reduced. So probably, the government can go another step to do more visible illustrations of this new resolve to contain the exploding expenditure of government.

“What do I mean by this? First of all, the size of government itself, as many people have said, is too much and I think if the government were to look critically at overhauling the whole structure of governance it will reduce tremendously the amount that we spend on it. Because if you look at some of the ministries and agencies of government, certainly many of them can merge, some of them can be reduced to low levels.

“I think, first, we can commend the government, we should commend the Council of State but I think they need to take further steps to really dramatize to the public that we are in a crisis mood that we need to undertake austerity measures.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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