A former Deputy Finance Minister, Mona Quartey, has joined calls for a new face and leader of the Finance Ministry, saying “our current Minister cannot do that job” of addressing the economic challenges.
Like a wounded soldier on the battle field, she believes Ken Ofori-Atta is unfit at this moment to head the Ministry and any attempt to push him to deliver beyond his capabilities would be a disservice to him.
Mrs. Mona Quartey claimed the Minister, as it stands, is only expecting a “miracle” to save the ailing economy from a further downturn.
“The leader as we have now, which is the Minister of Finance, is a miracle-seeking minister, not one who wants to do the work. Number two, he’s a wounded soldier, whether we like it or not and we want to send him into battle? I think that is unfair to him,” she said in an interview on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday, October 26.
In her view, it would be more appropriate and helpful for the President to relieve Mr. Ofori-Atta of his post and appoint a “strong” and “capable” person to take over the management of the country’s finances.
Mrs. Qaurtey urged President Akufo-Addo to consider some of the recommendations proposed by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“Opposition is a very important part of governance in this democracy that we are practicing and opposition has a stake in the game. We don’t intend to come back into power in a messed up nation.
The President must send a soldier who is looking for solutions, who is strong, who is capable to go out there and get us a good IMF programme and who will also start to do the work of cleaning up in-house, so that we send the right signals to both the international finance markets and to our domestic market,” she argued.
On Tuesday, October 25, over 80 New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislators demanded the immediate sacking of the Finance Minister.
They threatened to boycott the reading of the 2023 budget if President Akufo-Addo turns a deaf ear to their request.
“We have made our great concern known to the President through the parliamentary leadership and the leadership of the party without any positive response. We are, by this medium, communicating our strong desire that the President changes the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry [Charles Adu Boahen] without any further delays.”
At a press conference delivered by the Asante Akyem North MP, Andy Appiah-Kubi, the Majority MPs expressed displeasure with the management of the economy under Mr. Ofori-Atta.
Timing and procedure
The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said the calls for President Akufo-Addo to relieve his Finance Minister of his post may be premature under the current circumstances.
“I think the matter is about procedure and timing,” he said in an interview Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday, October 26.
Responding to a question on his personal position on the demands for Mr. Ofori-Atta to be sacked, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated that his major concern has been the rippling effects that would ensue from the Minister’s resignation at “this material moment.”
“They invited me. My concern was the timing and the effect of any such move at this material moment when we are about concluding our negotiation with the IMF. Is it the appropriate and propitious time to do what they are calling for? So I tried to reason with them,” he disclosed.
Currently, an “overwhelming majority” of the NPP legislators – numbering about 95 – have joined the campaign for Mr. Ofori-Atta to step down.
The NPP MPs say their sentiments reflect the position of the NPP caucus in the House.
This has been a unanimous call for the opposition legislators who have constantly called for the Minister’s head with some civil society organisations joining the fray at a point.
One of the key cards on the table for these majority MPs is the approval of the 2023 budget which will be pivotal to expenditure, especially at a time when government finances are in limbo.
The development comes amid a worsening economic downturn in the country as the Ministry looks to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a crucial bailout.
Disruptions in IMF deal
President Akufo-Addo has asked for more time for the embattled Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to conclude negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before any talks of resignation.
Documents available to JoyNews suggest a deal could be reached with the IMF in three weeks for a $3 billion balance of payment support.
This, the President believes, could be disrupted if Ken Ofori-Atta is sacked or forced to resign.
This was an outcome of a meeting held by President Akufo-Addo and NPP Members of Parliament on Tuesday over the demand for the Finance Minister to be sacked over his handling of the economy.