4th Republic longest serving Finance Minister, 12 others relieved of duty

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

By Mohammed AWAL ([email protected])

President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced a significant reshuffle which saw the dismissal of the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta and 12 others, including 10 cabinet ministers and two regional ministers.

Mr. Ofori-Atta, who oversaw some of the toughest economic decisions in recent times, including the ongoing US$3billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bail-out programme, will go down as the longest serving Finance Minister of the 4th Republic – from 1992 to date.

The IMF deal was secured in the face of a severe economic crisis, including unsustainable debt levels.

Mr. Ofori-Atta’s dismissal will appease Members of Parliament of the governing New Patriotic Party Caucus in Parliament, who had called for his removal last year.

“Even though the issue started with a group of 80-plus, the caucus meeting aligned with the decision of that group. So, it is no longer the cause of the 80-plus group. It is the agenda for the entire caucus to see the finance minister leave office,” Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told journalists last year.

The other casualties include Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior; Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Minister of Health; Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister responsible for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information; Kwasi Amoako-Atta, Minister of Roads and Highways; and Francis Asenso Boakye, Minister of Works and Housing.

The rest are Lariba Abudu, Minister, Gender, Children and Social Protection; Dan Botwe, Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development; Freda Prempeh, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources; Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture; Henry Quartey, Greater Accra Regional Minister; and Joseph Makubu, Oti Regional Minister.

“The President personally expressed his sincere appreciation directly to each of the ministers and deputy ministers, who have exited government, for their commitment, competence, dedication and hard work in office, which helped in the realisation of government’s mandate to the Ghanaian people over the last seven years, and wished each of them well in their future endeavours,” a statement announcing the decision read.

Apart from Mr. Nkrumah, Mr. Quartey and Mr. Dery who have been moved to the Ministry of Works and Housing, Ministry of Interior and Minister of State, Office  of the President respectively, the others were dismissed by the President.

The President has since submitted new nominations for the vacant Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial positions to the Parliament for approval.

The Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Mohammed Amin Adam, is nominated to replace the Finance Minister. Other nominees include Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye for the Health Ministry; Ophelia Mensah Hayford for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Fatimatu Abubakar as Minister of Information; and Dakoa Newman as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah will head the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development; Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources; Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture; Titus Glover as the Greater Accra Regional Minister; and Daniel Machator as the Oti Regional Minister.

The President also nominated 11 persons as deputy ministers. All nominees will be approved by Parliament.

“President Akufo-Addo is hopeful that Parliament will, once again, on a bi-partisan basis, expedite the approval of his nominees, so they can join the government forthwith and assist in the delivery of his mandate for his second term in office,” the statement said.

The country’s economic prospects will play a significant role in the upcoming December Presidential Elections, where President Nana Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party aims for an unprecedented third term

Reacting to the development, the Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu, Alhassan Bashir Alhassan Fuseini, described the reshuffle as “useless”.

“It’s intended to achieve very little or nothing,” he told B&FT’s Parliamentary Correspondent. “This should have come about two years ago when the competency of the Finance Minister was brought to the fore not just by the minority MPs, but the majority MPs. By then, we had seen that the economy was headed toward a crush – driven into the ditch by the crass incompetence and the reckless borrowing of the Finance Minister.”

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