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Scrap some deputy ministries!

Scrap some deputy ministries!

We read with great relish a front page commentary carried in the Independent Observer Newspaper of June 2, 2011, titled ‘Irrelevant Deputy Ministers.’

In the attempt to justify its position on the subject, the paper, without exception critically listed a number of Government Ministries that are laden with Deputy Ministers who virtually have nothing to show for their stay in these Ministries other than the Government wasting precious State resources on them.

Without casting aspersion on the integrity of individual Deputy Ministers occupying such Ministries, the newspaper was bold enough to point out the irrelevance of these Deputy Ministers and the economic implications of keeping them in governance.

The paper was however quick to acknowledge the fact that most of the Deputy Ministers, if not all, were appointed into office at the pleasure of the Head of State, purely for political expediency while others for simply criss-crossing the political terrain to the advantage of the ruling party.

As a matter of fact, we totally agree with the Independent Observer that these deputies are virtually redundant and are only in those positions at the pleasure of President Ernest Bai Koroma who has the power to hire and fire.

Like the paper pointed out, the monies being spent on these Deputies, if put together, could build more health centres and educational institutions in many deprived communities in the country than one can imagine.

Similarly, the resources being wasted on our Deputy Ministers could fund many development programmes that could absorb hundreds if not thousands of our deprived youths in gainful employment, thereby easing tension around the employment situation in the country.

We could not put it better than to further agree with the Independent Observer that these deputy positions were jobs slated for ‘the boys’ and the President has his reasons for keeping them there at the expense of the state.

Already, it is becoming clear that the All Peoples Congress (APC) Government is operating a cash-strapped economy with no clear cut direction, yet the President continues to over commit himself in the vain attempt to create jobs for his cronies while putting a strain on the economy.

It will be recalled that recently the Government reconstituted the position of District Officers (DOs) in all of the twelve districts of the country.

We regard this as additional burden on the meager finances of the state, given the number of commitments Government has pledged to accomplish in the areas of roads, infrastructure, energy, health and other strategic development projects, probably before 2012.

Our fear is that this Government will strangulate itself soon if it cannot put its priorities right.

Remember, the Government had earlier approved a whooping salary package of 48 million Leones for the Anti Corruption Commission boss in a country widely believed to be poor and where salaries are as low as one hundred and fifty thousand Leones (Le 150,000.00).

That is why we share the views expressed by our colleagues at the Independent Observer Newspaper that some of Present Koroma’s appointments are irrelevant insofar as the overall drive to achieve sustainable growth and development is concerned.

Indeed, this Government is being too wasteful in the midst of mass deprivation and we believe there is need to scrap Deputy Ministries.

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