•Ofori-Atta apologises over economic hardship, suffering
•Promises to work to bring relief to Ghanaians
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has apologised to Ghanaians for the economic challenges the country was facing.
“Let me say to Ghanaians what I believe with courage every finance minister around the world may want to say to their people now. I am truly sorry,” he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta made this apology in Accra yesterday when he appeared before the eight-member Adhoc Committee constituted by parliament to probe grounds on which the minority wanted him removed from office.
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, the government set out on a good note only to be pegged back by global COVID-19 pandemic which has left its traces of hardship on Ghanaians.
“When we set out so purposefully between 2017 and the early part of 2020, we never imagined that a global pandemic such as COVID-19, with its prolonged economic fallout, would inflict such pain and suffering upon the Ghanaian people.
“The shock to our system has been hard and the impact on our livelihoods severe, but we are not resting on our oars. We continue to work to keep the lights on, avoid the queues at the filling stations as in other countries, our classrooms are full, our hospitals and dispensaries stocked with medicines, we continue to pay salaries, and our roads continue to be built and fixed,” he explained.
Since the Akufo-Addo led-government came into office in 2017, he said everything it sought to do was aimed at making the lives of the people better, adding that “we have been focused on this vision to improve lives and in the first four years our efforts were leading to the realisation of that vision.”
Acknowledging that the economy was facing difficulties and the people of Ghana were enduring hardships, Mr Ofori-Atta said he felt the pain of the people and would work to bring relief to Ghanaians.
“As the person President Akufo-Addo has put in charge of this economy, I feel the pain personally, professionally and in my soul.
“I see and feel the terrible impact, the effect the rising prices of goods and services have on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Ghanaians, I feel the stress of running a business but it is the strength and perseverance of the Ghanaian people that inspire me and my colleagues in government every morning.
“That is what gives me the strength to press on to find solutions and relief for Ghanaians to the myriad of problems our country and the world are facing especially since March 2020,” he said.
His censure motion being the first in the democratic dispensation of the country, Mr Ofori-Atta said he recognised the enormity of the exercise as it would give the democratic culture of the country a shot in the arm.
He described some of the grounds for the motion as “disparaging remarks and attacks on my person and integrity” which lacked basis for the action by the proponents of the motion.
Mr Ofori-Atta said he has served diligently and creditably as minister and was hopeful that at the end of the Committee’s hearing the facts would be laid bare and the “unfounded doubts about my motives, competence and my character, would have been dispelled”.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI