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No Increase in President’s Staff- Oppong Nkrumah

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The government has denied rumors it is planning to increase the number of staff at the Office of the President from 998- 1,614.

The figure in the view of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is an increase of 616 staffers.

Last week in Parliament and subsequently on several media platforms, the members of the Minority claimed that the government was planning to increase the number of staff at the Office of the President.

After several requests for them to offer proof to back this claim, they referred to the 2019 budget as the source of their claim and proceeded further to claim any such act will amount to a burden on the public purse.

However, Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, at a news conference in Accra yesterday said the government has no intention to increase its staff.

He said contrary to the claim, Staff numbers at Office of the President and Even the Office of Government machinery are rather going through a programmed reduction.

Oppong Nkrumah noted that the makers of the claim have either confused Office of Government Machinery (OGM) with Office of the President (OOP) OR are only up to political mischief.

“Government pleads with the Media, that to preserve the sanctity of facts in public discourse, kindly subject people who make claims on facts, to strict empirical proof before giving them space to peddle such claims which can have significant effects” The Information Minister urged.

He explained that in 2018 established posts for OGM was 1697; In 2019 it has rather been reduced to 1614, So Indeed the established Posts at OGM has reduced between 2018 and 2019. It has reduced not increased.

He continued: “The claim of an increase is because the minority is comparing Office of the President (998 in 2018) which was part of the 1697 ceiling, with the entire Office of “Government Machinery ceiling for 2019 (1614).

“Specifically, Office of the President for the avoidance of doubt, is expected to reduce by 69 by end of 2019. Contrary to the claim peddled last week, there is rather a net reduction of 83 staff at the OGM staff numbers by year end 2019.”

The OfoaseAyirebi MP indicated that this will mostly be as a result of retirements who are not being replaced adding that “So contrary to the claim of an increase in numbers, there is rather a reduction in numbers by 69 specifically at Office of the President and net reduction of 83 in all at the entire Office of Government Machinery.”

Beyond the increase in presidential staffers rumour said the government has initiated moves to include various payment platforms in the second phase of Mobile Money interoperability which is completed expected to be rolled out on Wednesday November 28, 2018.

In March 2017, the Mobile Money Interoperability Project was commissioned in March, 2017 by His Excellency the Vice President, Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia.

The interoperability platform was necessitated to allow seamless flow of transactions across mobile money, bank and other payment systems.

To further create convenience and rope in mobile money users into the core financial ecosystem, the government initiated a move to create interoperability among the various payment platforms in the Country.

GhIPSS was tasked to lead the project.

The first Phase saw the interconnection of the mobile money platforms and the Ghana National Switch (gh-link system). It made it possible for customers to send MoMo across networks and from MoMo wallet to bank account and vice versa. Over 1.3 million transactions have been recorded so far on the Phase 1 platform.

In Phase two the interconnection between Mobile Money and ezwich (Ghana’s biometric smart card system). This makes Ghana one of the few countries to achieve this Universal Interoperability. Phase two completes the Financial Inclusion Triangle that connects bank accounts, MoMo wallet and ezwich.

With the successful roll out of phase II, Customers will be able to send and receive money directly from each other irrespective of the payment platform they are on; allowing them more accessibility and convenience. Achieving this level of Interoperability, contributes to digitizing cash in the Ghanaian economy, increasing efficiency of payments, and improving financial inclusion by bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked.

It will also enable free flow of funds between and among all the three platforms; allowing the banked and the unbanked to interact at the same level.

By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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