THE Parliamentary Opposition has questioned the Prime Minister as to why he remained tight-lipped over the cost and justification of the 39 political appointees.
In a statement, Opposition leader Jeremiah Manele said the silent treatment is an indication that the Prime Minister is guilt-ridden over the fact that the lists of names of the appointees are unjustifiable.
“The Opposition understands that 11 more names will also add to the 39 existing list which would bring the total list of political appointees to 50,” Mr Manele claimed.
“The Opposition reiterates its call to the Prime Minister to justify the cost, roles and responsibilities and the need to undertake this mass appointment.
“Is it necessary to have 39 or more political appointees at the cost of efficient services to our people?” the Opposition leader questioned.
Mr Manele said the money could have been well spent on essential services for our country as well as addressing the plights of the teachers, nurses, the outstanding demands of our servicemen, boost our judiciary as highlighted by our Chief Justice during the opening of the legal year to name a few.
He added that apart from cost and justification there are other issues of concern regarding the appointments.
“Duplication of tasks is another major concern here.
“The recruiting of national consultants may duplicate the functions of the Permanent Secretaries and other technical officers within the line ministries.
“Why do we need consultants as their roles are very much the role of the permanent secretaries?
“So where do we draw the line between consultants and permanent secretaries in terms of roles and responsibilities?
“For instance, the role of the International Relations Secretary (SS3) is a classic example of duplication of the PS of foreign affairs.
“And do we really need three media officers in the Prime Minister’s Office when we already have the Government Communication Unit (GCU).
“These are serious questions that need to be verified by the Prime Minister,” Mr Manele said.
The Leader of Opposition added that appointing the 39 political appointees before launching the DCC policy is also like putting the cart before the horse.
Mr Manele said DCC is yet to launch its policy and practically implemented programs should determine the number of posts.
“Therefore, it is not practical to engage political appointees when programs of action are yet to be finalized.
“The need for creating positions is determined by work programs and activities of any organization.
“The inflated political appointment is akin to putting the cart before the horse. In other words, it is unrealistic,” he said.
Mr Manele said some political appointees may not perform as expected of them especially when the government is in need of result oriented and high work output as required by the people.
“The opposition sees this as unnecessary spending of government funds and a liability for our country’s scarce financial resources.
“Thus, the Opposition is reiterating to the Prime Minister and his Government to explain the costs, roles and responsibilities and the mismatches and duplications according to the list and number of political appointees,” he said.