It would not be in the economic interest of Ghana if Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is not given the requisite support and co-operation to present the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament this week, Chair of the Finance Committee of the 7th Parliament of the Fourth Republic, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah has noted.
The renowned economist, who until the last elections was Member of Parliament for the New Juabeng South Constituency in the Eastern Region, has therefore pleaded with his former colleagues on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Majority Caucus to back down on their ‘Ofori-Atta-Mist-Resign-Now’ stance and rather fully support him to at least present the Budget and Economic Policy statement to Parliament this week.
He argued that no matter what the root causes of the agitations to get Ofori-Atta out of office may be and no matter how noble and genuine the intentions may be, there is the need to take into consideration realistic factors such as time, tact and the current economic crisis the country finds itself in.
“The country is in an era of economic crisis where world economies are in a recession. We cannot afford to risk a decision that would disturb our economy. Even the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament gave Ken Ofori-Atta his right to be heard at the Committee. At least they tolerated him and agreed to disagree but still they worked with him at the Committee so I find it a bit unusual if not unfortunate that some members from our side would still insist they do not want to see even his shadows at the Plenary at the threshold of the Budget statement”, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah noted on Saturday in an interaction with a section of the media.
“This cannot be the best of ways to build a democracy or be a fitting member of any group. You have made your demand on what you want to happen to the appointee, the appointor has accepted your demand and both parties have agreed on the roadmap to that specific demand. That roadmap has been told to the general public and there is clam. It is just fair that the agreement is adhered to and that we all play our parts in sincerity in the larger interest of the Group, the Party and Government”, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah added.
He pleaded with the MPs to stick to the earlier agreement they had with President Akufo-Addo that Ofori-Atta should be allowed to conclude his negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), present the Budget Statement and see to the passage of the Appropriation Bill before his proposed exit.
The former Chair of the Finance Committee opined further that it would be an administrative blunder that in the middle of negotiations with the IMF and with a few days to the presentation of the national Budget for next year, the finance Minister would be forced out of office abruptly.
He referred to the recent exit of Charles Adu Boahen, a Minister State at the Finance Ministry and said it would be a double jeopardy to remove the substantive Finance Minister at the same time.
“Even with the exit of Charles Adu Boahen, the President ought to be given some time to get a very suitable replacement. We are told the date for the Budget statement is long overdue. It would be economically suicidal to risk any further avoidable delay. Let the man present the Budget. The signals we are picking are disturbingly worrying and must be addressed in direct and candid language that by reason of the sensitive and difficult economic situation we are experiencing as a country and its global nature, it would be prudent for us to cooperate with and fully support Ken Ofori-Atta to, at least, present the Budget and Policy statement as well as see to the successful passage of the Appropriation Bill in our collective, rather than individual interests.
“In all honesty, I believe that no matter how noble the intentions of the persons calling for Ofori-Atta’s sack may be, the same noble intentions if sought after in a haste as it seems to be the case now, could end in a waste and turn out to be destructive rather than constructive”, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah added.
Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, had said the 2023 Budget Statement and Economy Policy is scheduled to be presented to Parliament on Thursday November 24.
The Budget Statement was earlier scheduled to be presented on November 15,2022 but was postponed due to what Afenyo-Markin described as “unforeseen development.”
As momentum gathers towards the Budget Statement presentation, agitations for the exit of Ken Ofori-Atta has heightened with some MPs even from his own NPP Majority threatening to boycott Parliament is he, Ofori-Atta enters the Plenary for the Budget presentation.