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General News of Friday, 4 April 2014

Source: Al-Hajj

Unwavering Terkper Muzzles MPs

-Over his handling of the economy

Call him the indefatigable, inscrutable, indomitable or any other name befitting of a person who gets his fiercest adversaries murmuring when he is around, and you are not mistaken; that is the man, Seth Emmanuel Terkper, Ghana’s Finance Minister.

Like a Daniel in the Lion’s den and, surprising to the many that thronged the public gallery of Parliament on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 to witness the ‘butchery’ of Finance Minister Seth Terkper, New Patriotic Party Members of Parliament who had been on radio ranting and ceaselessly calling on the Speaker of Parliament to drag Terkper to the House for questioning over his handling of the nation’s economy could not display what they had been threatening when he finally delivered a statement on the floor of the House.

As if hypnotized by the Minister’s delivery on how government intends tackling the shocks currently facing the Ghanaian economy, the NPP MPs, overly disappointed in themselves for taking an earlier uninformed position, helplessly and sheepishly watched Mr Terkper exhibit his knowledge on putting in place measures to bring economic liberation.

Short of words and to put smiles back on the faces of his other non-economist minority colleagues, the MP for Old Tafo, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, who had led his colleagues to be making incessant request for the Minister to be dragged before Parliament, only said, the Minister rehashed what was contain in the 2013 and 2014 budget.

Briefing parliament on the state of the economy, Mr Terkper noted that government expects the measures presently being implemented to promote fiscal discipline to begin yielding positive results next year, stressing that the economy is responding positively to the fiscal policy measures.

The Finance Minister was confident that the measures, all of which are "home grown", are capable of making the economy readjust.

The state of the nation's economy has been the topic of discussions at several fora with many particularly, opposition elements blaming the government for its ‘poor management of the economy.

Last week, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, 2012 vice presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party delivering a public lecture at the Central University College, criticized government for spending beyond the budgeted limit, contributing to the present economic mess.

Mr. Terkper noted that despite the marginal gains made so far, the threat of volatility still exists and therefore urged strict adherence to the measures.

Despite the fear that the fiscal measures would cause disaffection among investors, the Finance Minister said Ghana still remains a favourable investment destination.

He emphasized government has no intention of controlling the economy with the measures. He promised the House that he will brief Parliamentarians regularly on the state of the economy.

Responding to the Minister's statement on the floor, ranking Member of Parliament's Finance Committee, Anthony Akoto Osei commended Mr. Terkper for being blunt on the economy which according to him re-emphasizes the position of the minority.

"I commend the Minister [Seth Terkper] for having the boldness to come to the house and I hope the investors will hear this," he concluded.

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