April 17, 2024

Benito Owusu-Bio, Special Advisor to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources

In a shocking development, Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has taken an unconventional approach by reinstating Benito Owusu-Bio, the recently dismissed deputy minister for lands and natural resources, as a Special Advisor to the Minister. This decision defies the typical exercise of executive power by President Akufo-Addo, who had initiated a reshuffle of his ministers to introduce new faces into the government.

Instead of adhering to Akufo-Addo’s directive, Jinapor has chosen to appoint Benito as an Advisor to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources ahead of the newly appointed replacement, specifically tasked him with overseeing special projects within the ministry.

In a letter dated Monday, 19th February 2024, Benito received official notification of his new role, which involves providing strategic guidance on various initiatives related to lands and natural resources.

Jinapor justified this decision by highlighting Benito’s extensive experience and invaluable institutional knowledge gained from overseeing critical projects undertaken by the Ministry since 2021. Among the notable projects mentioned are the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP), and the Green Ghana Project. Jinapor emphasized that Benito’s expertise in project management and his longstanding service in the public sector make him well-suited for this advisory role.

Despite his reinstatement, Benito’s appointment does not come with additional remuneration, as he already holds the position of Member of Parliament. Jinapor clarified that serving as a Minister’s Special Advisor does not warrant additional compensation beyond Benito’s existing parliamentary salary.

This decision has sparked discussions about the role of a Minister’s Special Advisor and whether it overlaps with parliamentary responsibilities. Despite the absence of financial incentives, Jinapor’s confidence in Benito’s abilities underscores the importance of his contribution to advancing the Ministry’s mandate.

Governance experts are raising concerns about the justification for the appointment, while some are seeking clarity on the responsibilities of the new deputy minister within the ministry. Additionally, there are concerns that this decision could potentially disrupt the harmony and cohesion necessary among the minister and his deputies to effectively carry out their mandate

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