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General News of Friday, 2 April 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

How Ofori-Atta's approval has disunited NDC MPs in Parliament

Parliament of Ghana, on Monday, March 29, 2021, approved the nomination of Ken Ofori-Atta as minister responsible for Finance in the Akufo-Addo led administration.

The nominee who returned to Ghana for his vetting following his treatment in the USA for post-Covid health complications faced a two-day vetting by Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Thursday and Friday.

The Appointments Committee then recommended that Ofori-Atta should be approved by consensus.

The nominee was consequently approved by voice vote.

Presenting the Committee’s report to Parliament, Frank Annor Dompreh, the Majority Chief Whip, said:

“The nominee answered a number of questions ranging from the justification for the resubmission of the Agyapa transaction to Parliament, public sector wages negotiations, the rationale for the proposed tax hikes by the government and the management and use of the petroleum revenue. The committee by consensus recommends to the house to approve the nomination of Ken Ofori-Atta for appointment as Minister responsible for Finance.”

Seconding the motion for his approval on the floor Monday, Minority Leader Mr Haruna Iddrisu told the House that Minority members on the Appointments Committee requested for some other information relating to the performance of Mr Ofori-Atta and had accordingly recommended that he should be approved by consensus.

“Mr Speaker, it does not mean that we are satisfied with his performance as Finance Minister. He probably will go and bear the brunt of his mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy in the last four years,” he said, while referencing Ken Ofori-Atta’s inability to reconcile fiscal data and details of how much the Bank of Ghana financed the Government of Ghana in the 2020 period.

“We will demand more information on this matter because we are convinced that it is in breach of the law, Bank of Ghana Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act and Public Financial Management Act,” he said.

But following his unanimous approval by the House some Minority MPs have disagreed with their leadership.

Isaac Adongo, Deputy Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament told the media in Parliament: “I have stayed out of the media because of the question of why we approved Ken Ofori-Atta. I don’t want my name to be dragged in the mud when I do not have control over the processes….”

Isaac Adongo (NDC - Bolgatanga Central MP) added, “as for Ken Ofori-Atta, we have another four years of battle ahead of us, and we are ready for him. I am not going to be daunted because Ofori-Atta has been approved and people are asking that if he was corrupt why was he approved? I must continue to hold the government to account. That will not demoralize me. I will continue to do my work.”

On March 31, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (NDC - North Tongu MP), resigned from the Appointments Committee.

In a letter dated March 30 addressed to Speaker Alban Kingsford Bagbin, Ablakwa explained that his resignation was “after days of careful reflection and thoughtful considerations.

“I shall like to state that the reasons for this difficult decision are both personal and on principle,” was all Okudzeto Ablakwa hinted in his letter.

Following Ablakwa’s resignation from the Appointments Committee, however, Cletus Avoka (NDC – Zebilla MP), has chastised his colleague for the manner in which he resigned.

“In the case of Hon. Ablakwa, it was not the Speaker who made him a committee member. It was his Caucus leadership. So as far as his situation is concerned, I think that appropriately, he should have addressed the resignation to Haruna Iddrisu who is the leader of the Minority,” Avoka said on Citi FM Thursday, as monitored by GhanaWeb.

Meanwhile, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, at a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday, said:

"The parliament organ [minority] led by me currently will do what is [necessary] to work in tandem with the party to hold the Nana Akufo-Addo government accountable and to lead the party into victory in 2024.”

He added: “Whatever storm it is, we will weather it. I'm fully in charge, I'm Minority Leader. This morning, I've just engaged with the party leadership and [NDC] Council of Elders. No further comment on someone resigning or not."

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