Calls for Finance Minister’s head not prudent – Government Communicator

Fitch Ratings has further downgraded Ghana's long-term foreign-currency (LTFC) issuer default rating (IDR) to 'CCC' from 'B-'.

A senior government communicator in the Ashanti Region, Kwadwo Bonsu, has indicated that the increasing pressure on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to sack his Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, is wrong and a bad strategy that must not be adopted.

According to him, removing the Finance Minister at such a crucial time of the nation – when efforts are being put in place to restore the macro-economic fortunes of the nation – will have negative financial and economic consequences, especially for the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The first point we must send across is that the current situation we find ourselves in is not the Finance Minister’s doing; the IMF in its own report has made it clear that we find ourselves in this situation because of COVID-19 and the Russian-Ukraine War. Therefore, if you want to tackle the problems we currently face, you don’t do so by removing the Finance Minister who until these twin crises had properly managed the economy. Don’t forget that he was the one who succeeded in achieving the initial targets set for us by the IMF in 2018 when the NDC had derailed the programme,” he said.

Kwadwo Bonsu further added that the Finance Minister is one person who has what it takes to carefully manage and steer the nation out of the current situation.

“Let’s not forget that it is this same Finance Minister whose diligence prevented a collapse of the banking sector in Ghana after it came to light most of the banks were not liquid and could not pay money that customers had deposited.  He is the same person who also prevented our energy sector from collapsing as a result of the numerous take or pay agreements that the previous government had signed. So, he is not new to crises; and he has the tenacity to do what must be done to get the economy back on track.”

However, calls by the public for his dismissal – especially supporters of opposition political parties – following the announcement on Friday July 1 that the Akufo-Addo government was heading to the IMF have increased in the past weeks.

Speaking at the #3businesscolloquium organised by Media General in Accra, Dr. John Kwakye, Director of Research at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), also rejected such calls; saying that dismissing the Finance Minister would damage the image of Ghana.

“He should be there, because it will dent the international image of Ghana if you remove him at this time,” he said.

The IMF staff team led by Carlo Sdralevich visited Accra during July 6-13, 2022 to assess the current economic situation and discuss the broad lines of government’s Enhanced Domestic Programme that can be supported by an IMF lending arrangement.

The IMF team met with Vice President Bawumia, Finance Minister Ofori-Atta, and Governor Addison of the Bank of Ghana. The team also met with parliament’s Finance Committee, civil society organisations, and development partners including UNICEF and the World Bank to engage in social spending discussions.

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