Akufo-Addo to retain rusty Akoto Afriyie as Agric Minister

Minister for Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto Minister for Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto

The Herald is picking up information that President Akufo-Addo has decided to retain his friend, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto in his government as his Minister for Food and Agriculture.

It comes as his counterpart, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, another friend of the President, has decided to leave his government at age 79.

But the 71-year old Dr. Afriyie Akoto, is reported to have insisted on being retained at the same Ministry he spent the last four years, and President Akufo-Addo, has obliged his request making him the oldest man in his government as a minister.

Interestingly, Dr. Afriyie Akoto, an agricultural economists and former Member of Parliament for Kwadaso Constituency in the Ashanti Region, reported to be nursing Presidential ambition for the 2024 NPP flagbearer election.

What is striking is that President Akufo-Addo is said to be aware his childhood friend is desirous of the Presidency, yet keeping him in his government as minister although rusty and lost innovative ideas for that key ministry.

Many mock him for using the availability of plantain to define planting for food and jobs. They remember his inability to give statistics on the number of jobs created by the initiative which started under Mahama administration with a grant from the Canadian government.

Interestingly, the same President Akufo-Addo, is said to have met some of his appointees, including Joe Ghartey for discussions on their ambitions and why he can't keep them in the government as ministers.

It is not clear, why Trade Minister, Alan Kyremanten, is being retained in the government, although the last few weeks have seen his supporters attacking Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, a Muslim for worshipping in churches, especially in Ashanti region.

The inconsistencies in the President's action and lack of honesty in his approach, as well as the overwhelming majority of his family and friends getting back into government, The Herald learnt is causing consternation in the NPP.

The Ashanti Region block of the party, is also making demands on him to give them a huge number of ministerial appointments, arguing that but for them, he couldn't have been retained.

The coming days will define the shape of the government.

Meanwhile, the President, has announced he will not appoint Deputy Regional Ministers in his second term of office, a statement from the Presidency has announced.

He has also realigned seven Ministries – Aviation, Business Development, Inner City and Zongo Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Planning, Regional Re-organisation and Development, and Special Development Initiatives and abolished the Senior Minister position that was occupied by Yaw Osafo Maafo.

The statement explained that "the President has effected this realignment because virtually all these special-purpose Ministries have achieved the purposes for which they were established."

"In all, President Akufo-Addo will appoint a total of 30 Ministers, and 16 Regional Ministers, bringing the total number of Ministers to 46," it added.

The President's list of proposed Ministers and Regional Ministers for his new government will be submitted to Parliament today, January 21, 2021, for processes of approval to begin.

"In all, President Akufo-Addo will appoint a total of 30 Ministers, and 16 Regional Ministers, bringing the total number of Ministers to 46."

"Eight of this number are women – six Ministers and two Regional Ministers. This is the list that will be submitted to Parliament by the President on Thursday," the statement said.

The list of deputy ministers will be sent to Parliament "at an appropriate date."

A new Minister for Energy is to be appointed, who will be assisted by deputy ministers, one of whom will be an indigene of the Western Region.

The statement also indicated that the President intends to appoint a Minister for Public Enterprises, who will be "operating directly under the ambit of the Presidency, and not from a Ministry."

"The Minister will oversee a major restructuring of the entire state-owned enterprises' sector to improve the productivity and profitability of the sector."

The President's representative at the Information Ministry, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah had earlier given indications President Akufo-Addo's record government size will reduce when he constitutes his new administration.

The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development will now be called the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development.

It will be tasked with overseeing the outstanding activities of the erstwhile Regional Re-organisation and Development Ministry.

The work of the Special Development Initiatives Ministry and the Monitoring and Evaluation Ministry. will now be co-ordinated from the Presidency.

The Aviation Ministry is to be merged into an enlarged Ministry of Transport, with activities of the Ministry of Planning also being subsumed under the Ministry of Finance, the statement indicated.

The Business Development Ministry will also be merged with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

A new Minister for Energy is to be appointed, "who will be assisted by deputy Ministers, one of whom will be an indigene of the Western Region."

"On Wednesday, 20th January, and Thursday, 21st January, President Akufo-Addo held one-on-one meetings with the new Ministers-designate, as well as with his first-term Ministers who will not transition into the new government, to break the news to them," the statement revealed.

Source: The Herald