General News of Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Source: The Republic Newspaper

Terkper scares schemers

Mr. Seth Terkper's appointment as substantive Minister has set some unscrupulous staff of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning panicking even before he is confirmed by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

The Republic can confirm that since the President, John Mahama named him as the man to succeed Dr. Kwabena Dufuor there has been an uneasy calm among some staff of the ministry in anticipation that his usually strict character may stall their nefarious dealings.

Deep throat sources at the ministry have revealed to the Republic that the finance minister- designee’s usually firm and robust stands is why his nomination as the substantive Ministers drown shivers down the spines of some of the senior staff who like cutting corners are uncomfortable working with him as their new boss.

“They know that his technical competence is unquestionable and his rich experience is what anybody needs in order to avoid the damning pressure that political apparatchiks heap on the Finance Ministry”, the source noted.

“I can assure you that there are a very good number of professionals in this ministry and who are very happy and relish the Appointment of Mr. Terkper because they believe as many Ghanaians that being the controller of government’s purse the occupier of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning must have principled head.

At his vetting last Thursday, a member of the Appointments Committee and MP for Akwatia, Baba Jamal, while asking a question, indicated that he had been told by a worker at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning that notwithstanding that Mr. Terkper was "quite a competent gentleman", he was 'bullish and snobbish'

But Mr. Terkper debunked the allegation and noted that his relationship with the staff as far as he knows is cordial. He also indicated that he was neither a bully nor a snobbish as has been alleged by his detractors and that his insistence and demand for the needed work ethics may have been misconstrued to be arrogance.

“I have a cordial relationship with the staff, but I also insist on the right thing being done,” Mr. Terkper told the Appointments Committee during his vetting for appointment as the Minister of Finance, indicating his firmness and demand for the needed work ethics was probably being misconstrued to be arrogance.

“Cordiality is important but I also believe discipline is very important. My only appeal is that we must be disciplined in carrying out our duties because as a ministry we are custodians of the national purse and it requires a certain level of firmness and discipline to control and effectively manage the resources on behalf of the people,” he pointed out.

He promised to have a continues good working relationship with the staff at the ministry, and also served notice that proper discipline would be required of workers to ensure the mandate of his outfit was effectively delivered.

The Finance Minister designate stressed that the tax payers’ money must be protected by the ministry, announcing that a new mechanism known as the Budget and Accounting System had been put in place to ensure that all government transactions were put into one simple system to cut out the duplication of payments.

He said his tenure as a Minister would ensure that the “process of tendering contract formulation will be strengthened to blot out the loopholes in the award of contracts”.

Mr. Terkper was born in Somanya in the Eastern Region of Ghana, where he started his Elementary School Education in the Presby cluster of schools. He obtained his first degree in Bachelor of Commerce (B.Comm.) from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana. He is also a Chartered Accountant who holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Kennedy School, Harvard University.

As a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) from March 2009 to January 2013, Mr. Terkper worked mainly on the Budget and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as well as on revenue policy and administration. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) and chaired the joint Steering Committee of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) reforms. During the period, he became very active in working on government business in Parliament, including the passage of Bills and approval of International Agreements.

Between July 1999 and February 2009, Mr. Terkper held various positions (last as Senior Economist) in the Fiscal Affairs Dept. (FAD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He participated in, and led, several technical assistance (TA) missions to member-states to improve the organization, process and legislation for revenue institutions. In so doing, he worked with colleagues in the Tax Policy [TP] and other Divisions in FAD; the African and Legal departments; the Caribbean Technical Assistance Centre [CARTAC]; and other IMF units to achieve critical TA goals. As a chartered accountant and public administrator, he follows fiscal, accounting, and other economic trends closely.

Before joining the IMF, Mr. Terkper worked in staff and management positions—including National VAT Coordinator and Deputy Commissioner—in the National Revenue Secretariat (MOFEP) and revenue agencies in Ghana.

He played a key role in the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ghana. He has consulted for the IMF; Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), Harvard International Tax Program (ITP); African Development Bank [AfDB], and UN Committee of Tax Experts. He was a correspondent for Tax Analysts, USA. Mr. Terkper has been part of—and participated in leadership positions in—local government (including membership of the Yilo District Assembly), social, religious, and student bodies.