Members of the Majority Group in Parliament have been urged to rally behind Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in full support as he presents the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to the Plenary this week.
The plea for support for Mr Ofori-Atta to present the Budget and Economic Policy statement was made by a former Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah.
He argued that the Budget and Economic Policy statement and subsequent passage of the Appropriation Bill was of a grave importance in the face of the economic crisis the country finds itself therefore individual and group differences should be shelved in the larger interest of the country.
“Forcing Ken Ofori-Atta to leave office before the Budget Statement would be a double jeopardy for the country considering the current economic situation we find ourselves in and the fact that it is directly linked to a global economic crisis,” Dr Assibey-Yeboah told journalists on Saturday.
He said the “Ministry of Finance just lost Charles Adu Boahen, one of its pivotal human resources who was playing a key role in the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and even before the President gets time to nominate a replacement to fill that vacuum created, we are calling for the immediate removal of Ken Ofori-Atta as well without allowing him present the Budget and Economic Policy statement for next year.
“In all honesty, I believe that no matter how noble the intentions of the persons calling for Ofori-Atta’s sack may be, the same noble intentions if sought after in a haste, as it seems to be the case now, could end in a waste and turn out to be destructive rather than constructive,” DrAssibey-Yeboah added.
The former Chair of the Finance Committee who until the last elections, was the Member of Parliament for New Juabeng South on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) said his Party members in Parliament who recently insisted they wanted Ofori-Atta out of office else they would boycott the Budget statement should compromise on their stance.
He pleaded that they rather adhere to the agreement they reached with President Akufo-Addo that they would, at least, allow the Minister present the Budget, see to the passage of the Appropriation Bill and conclude negotiations with the IMF before their demand for his sack would be addressed.
“Even the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament gave Ken Ofori-Atta his right to be heard at the Committee. At least they tolerated him and agreed to disagree but still they worked with him at the Committee so I find it a bit unusual if not unfortunate that some members from our side would still insist they do not want to see even his shadows at the Plenary at the threshold of the Budget statement.
“This cannot be the best of ways to build a democracy or be a fitting member of any group. You have made your demand on what you want to happen to the appointee, the appointer has accepted your demand and together both parties have agreed on the roadmap to that specific demand. That roadmap has been told to the general public and there is clam. It is just fair that the agreement is adhered to and we all play our parts in sincerity in the larger interest of the group, the party and government”, DrAssibey-Yeboah added.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah’s call follows reports that despite the agreement the Majority MPs had reached with the President that the Finance Minister be allowed to present the budget pending their
request for his sack, some of them still insist not cooperating with him during and after the budget presentation.
Meanwhile, Ken Ofori-Atta last week appeared before an eight-member ad-hoc Committee Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has tasked to probe a Motion of Censure the Minority had moved against him.
The Finance Minister told the Committee he was completely innocent of the issues raised as grounds for a censure against him.