There are “very credible people within” the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), “who can take the most difficult task of turning our country around” as Finance Minister, Bolgatanga Central MP Isaac Adongo has said, as he condemned the recently-approved Finance Minister-designate, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta as a “scam on Ghana”.
The opposition MP, who is a fierce critic of Mr Ofori-Atta, thus, told journalists after the Databank co-founder’s approval by consensus to serve for the second time as Finance Minister, that he felt “very disappointed” with the justification by his party, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that they decided to approve the President’s cousin so he could “carry his own cross”, since, in the party’s view, he created a “mess” of the economy during his first tenure of office.
“You cut your losses”, the Deputy Ranking Member of the Finance Committee argued, insisting that Mr Ofori-Atta has “messed us up to this point in time”.
“As I speak today, I am telling you that one of his schemes is to collapse us ’kwataa’ with a bond, a zero-coupon bond. Is that how you carry your cross?” Mr Adongo wondered.
“If you ask me: you cut your losses and begin the difficult process of rebuilding with four years ahead and we have four years of rebuilding that we have lost but nevertheless, we must do our work”, he noted.
Mr Adongo said he did not want to go against the decision of the party on the floor of parliament and, so, restrained himself from fighting the endorsement of Mr Ofori-Atta in the house of legislature.
“The consensus was reached at the committee [level]. I was not at the committee [level] to have the full facts with which they made the decision to go consensus but having had consensus, you cannot be agitating on the floor”, he explained to journalists.
Nonetheless, Mr Adongo said he disagrees with his party’s position and demonstrated same.
“I did not want to be seen as endorsing somebody that I believe is a scam on Ghana.
“Ken Ofori-Atta epitomises all that is wrong with our financial and economic sector of Ghana and I’m the last person to endorse such a move.
“That is why I wanted the records to show that I’m absent. So, I did not even go there to sign. If there’s anybody who will put his life on the line to get Ken Ofori-Atta not to be a Minister of Finance, you can wake me up any day but it’s a collective decision. I disagree with the decision but I respect the view of the majority”.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, recently said it was in the interest of the biggest opposition party for Mr Ofori-Atta to continue being the Finance Minister since his “mess” will enable the party to win the next elections.
Explaining why the NDC supported Mr Ofori-Atta’s approval, Mr Asiedu Nketiah, who was recently appointed to the Parliamentary Service Board, told Class91.3FM’s Kofi Oppong Asamoah on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 on the Class Morning Show that having messed up the economy, the investment banker’s reappointment will inure to the electoral fortunes of the biggest opposition party.
“The party has taken this position because we think that the interest of the NDC will be better served if the President insists on Ofori-Atta becoming the next Finance Minister because, as far as we are concerned, he has messed up so badly that it will inure to the benefit of the NPP if they had a new face but once they have chosen to maintain him, he should be there, continue the mess, which will then pave the way for the NDC to come to power”, he noted.
Asked if the NDC then supports the approval of Mr Ofori-Atta to continue serving as Finance Minister, Mr Asiedu Nketiah responded: “Yes” but added: “If we were in power, Ofori-Atta will never get near the Finance Ministry but the situation is that they are in power and the party in power defines the national interest according to their beliefs, so, if the mess he is creating constitutes national interest, in the view of the NPP, let him go and continue because we consider it to be a mess and we now have reason to believe that Ofori-Atta has lost face in the national finance community, he has lost face domestically; the workers of the country have a problem with him and all that”.
“So, if a new Finance Minister were to be appointed, at least, he will have a reason to say that: ‘I’m a new person. Give me time to settle and so on before I come to deal with your issues’. He will have that breathing space. Unfortunately, Ofori-Atta will not have that breathing space”, he told Kofi Oppong Asamoah.
In his view, Mr Ofori-Atta must be allowed to continue to face the consequences of the “mess” he created.
“I’ve heard of policemen whose salaries were topped up during the elections and after the elections, deductions were made”.
“So, the person who was responsible will still continue to be there and they will be asking him those difficult questions”.
“So, we think that it is in our history that he should continue”, Mr Asiedu Nketiah stressed.
Ahead of his approval, the party, per a statement signed by Mr Nketiah, urged calm among its grassroots supporters, since whatever position the Minority Caucus takes with regard to Mr Ofori-Atta’s nomination, has been discussed and agreed with the leadership of the NDC.
The purpose of the letter, Mr Asiedu Nketiah explained, “is to indicate to our party’s rank and file that we have held several engagements with the leadership of parliament and we have charted a consensual position as to how they should handle the nomination of Ken Ofori-Atta and, so, they should not be surprised if there’s that decision coming from parliament and we did this because of what happened after the approval of some nominees early on because there was no such communication between the party and the grassroots”.
“There was pandemonium, sort of: everybody was angry, accusing people left, right centre; we don’t want the approval or otherwise of Ken Ofori-Atta to generate any such problems within the party”, he noted.