The Progressive People's Party (PPP) has proposed wide-ranging constitutional and public governance reforms to help address fundamental issues impeding the development of the nation.
While throwing support behind the ongoing social media campaign dubbed #FixTheCountry, the party indicated that the country would not see major developmental changes until some critical aspects of the constitution were amended.
The party held the view that the power granted the executive by the constitution "is simply too much" and accounted for the lack of checks and balances required to ensure accountability and prudent management of the country's resources.
At a news conference in Accra yesterday, the National Chairman of the PPP, Nana Ofori Owusu, called for a review of the 1992 Constitution to prevent the President from selecting at least 50 per cent of his minsters from among the Members of Parliament (MPs) to cushion the legislature against Executive influence.
He also proposed an amendment of Article 88 of the Constitution which makes the Attorney-General (AG) also the Minister of Justice, stressing that the current arrangement "makes it difficult to deal with political corruption cases.”
The press conference was the first of a monthly engagement series introduced by the party to offer policy alternatives to pressing issues bodering on national development.
Article 78 (1) of the Constitution states that: “Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament from among Members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament, except that the majority of Ministers of State shall be appointed from among Members of Parliament.”
In the assessment of the PPP, the above provision had weakened the ability of Parliament to put the Executive in check and demand accountability.
"The selection of at least 50 per cent of ministers from the legislature denies Parliament the needed brilliant human resource which is usually selected into the executive to become ministers. This limits the strength and ability of Parliament to effectively check the executive.
"Again, when an MP becomes a minister, the time he/she has to perform parliamentary duties becomes significantly reduced since they will have to spend a lot of time doing the work of the Executive," Nana Owusu said.
The party further called for an independent AG to empower the office to effectively deal with political corruption cases.
“The enormous powers of the AG require that he/she is separated from Cabinet in order for him to have the necessary independence to do the job without or with less political considerations," Nana Owusu explained.
Touching on the economy, Nana Owusu expressed concern over what he described as dominance of foreign investors in key sectors of the economy, a situation he said undermined the progress of indigenous businesses.
He urged the government to roll out "deliberate policies" to empower Ghanaian businesses to expand and be able to withstand foreign competition.
"The PPP purposes positive and concerted effort by the Executive to direct its agencies, ministers, and departments to spend only on external products only if there's no local substitute," he said.
On the issue of illegal mining, Nana Owusu took issue with the approach adopted by the government in the renewed fight against the menace, describing it as a “knee-jerk reaction.”
He urged the government to rather resource the various institutions responsible for regulating the mining sector to deal with the issue sustainably.