Parliament has expressed sadness over the death of J.H. Mensah.
A minute’s silence was observed in his honour after which parliamentarians took turns to pay tribute to the industrialist.
Mr Mensah died in the early hours of Thursday, 12 July 2018. He was a politician and an economist. He was 89.
Commenting on his death, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, described the former Senior Minister as “an exceptionally and profoundly brilliant economist”.
He continued: “One of the few gifted with God’s gift of thinking on his feet momentarily at all times. He has made significant contribution to the economic and political development of our country. We are justified as a nation to be in grief and to celebrate his departure [and] not mourn his death.
“We have lost a father, we have lost a political colossus [and] our sympathy and condolences to the immediate family, to the president and members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the nation at large.
“He was an inspiration to many of us, particularly in this House…We will miss his brilliance, we will miss his humility and we will miss the depth of his knowledge. He was very academic and had well-researched papers. He will forever remain in our hearts”.
For his part, Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, pointed out that the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who knew the value of Mr Mensah, invited him to come to Ghana and contribute to the development of the country.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said: “J.H. Mensah knew he could have earned much more within the enclave of the United Nations (UN) but selfless as he was, he responded to his selfless instincts and migrated back to Ghana to help in constructing the edifice called Ghana”.
He said the plan of economic management introduced by J.H. Mensah included face-lifting of urban centres and road development and a shift from controlled economy to a liberalised economy.
“J.H. Mensah introduced the first structural adjustment programme in Ghana, which included the devaluation of the cedi to stimulate agricultural and industrial production. The latter, unfortunately agitated many uninitiated people at the time and resulted in some recklessness, especially within the ranks of the labour unions. Colonel Kutu Acheampong at the time was to cite the devaluation of the cedi as one of the justifications for ousting the Second Republic on 13 January 1972,” he noted.
He lamented that Mr Mensah was incarcerated subsequently and was labelled as a counter-coupist, prompting a self-imposed exile some few years later.
He said: “I count myself as very fortunate to have been in parliament in 1997 with the genius of a character called J.H. Mensah”.
“He was an intellectual par excellence and was hugely knowledgeable, profoundly intelligent, brilliant communicator, an astute debator and a generalist who knew something about every business that Parliament transacted”.
About Mr Mensah
Mr Mensah began working as an assistant inspector of taxes in 1953 while the Gold Coast was still under colonial rule.
In 1958, Mr Mensah joined the United Nations Secretariat at the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies, in New York City, United States.
He returned to Ghana in 1961 as the Head of Agency at the National Planning Commission which drew and implemented the country’s Seven-Year Development Plan (1962–1969).
In 1969, he was elected to parliament and became the Finance Minister until 1972, when he was replaced by future head of state Ignatius Kutu Acheampong after the military coup.
In 2005, he was appointed Senior Minister by President J.A Kufuor.