Ghana replaces sacked energy chief in reshuffle of huge cabinet

FILE PHOTO: President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana at a news conference in London, April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo replaced his sacked energy minister on Thursday in a reshuffle that still maintained the West African country’s high number of ministers -- 110 in total.

Akufo-Addo sacked Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko on Monday, and in the reshuffle he replaced him with John Peter Amewu, former minister of lands and natural resources. Press reports said Agyarko was removed because the president was unhappy with his handling of an extension to a five-year deal with United Arab Emirates-based AMERI Energy for a 300MW emergency power plant.

Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, former regional minister for the Brong Ahafo region, was named minister for lands and natural resources, while Kofi Adda, a former minister of sanitation and water resources, was appointed the minister of aviation.

Critics and local media say the number of Ghana’s ministers is bloated and is a drain on the public purse, but the government has resisted calls to axe some of them.

Ghana, one of the region’s most dynamic economies, became an energy producer in late 2010, and pumps out around 180,000 barrels of oil per day from three main fields.

But large amounts of this revenue are spent on government salaries, while Ghana has suffered from falls in commodity prices in the past three years that forced it to go to the IMF for a bailout.

It is now in its final year of the $918 million credit deal signed in April 2015 to fix its economy, dogged by high deficits, inflation and public debt.

Reporting by Gideon Sackitey; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Hugh Lawson