Ken Ofori-Atta gets unanimous confirmation as Finance Minister

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Parliament yesterday approved the nomination of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta for appointment as Minister of Finance.

This was after a unanimous recommendation by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

The Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, on behalf of the Chairman of the committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu, presented the report to the plenary, which approved the nomination by a voice vote.

Seconding the motion for his approval, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told the House that the Minority members on the Appointments Committee requested some other information relating to the performance of Mr Ofori-Atta, and had accordingly recommended that he should be approved by consensus.

The Minority Leader however raised some issues before the approval.

“Mr Speaker, it does not mean that we are satisfied with his performance as Finance Minister. He probably will go and bear the brunt of his mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy in the last four years,” he said.

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Vetting

Meanwhile, some pundits have commended the Appointments Committee for the manner in which it asked very “well thought out questions” during the two-day of Mr Ofori-Atta’s vetting.

The questions, especially from the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu, and his Chief Whip, according to them, were well researched and thorough.

During his vetting, Mr Ofori-Atta unveiled new strategies to be employed in turning around the economy of the country which has been badly hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He identified revenue mobilisation under property rates, tax exemption and digitization of tax administration and collection as three key areas of focus to turn around the economic fortunes of the country.

He believes the new strategy will help push the current low tax-to-GDP ratio of about 12.5 per cent to the proposed tax-to-GDP ratio of at least 17 per cent. This, he says, is vital to the country’s vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.

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Battle cry

Mr Ofori-Atta described the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy “as a battle cry” for all Ghanaians “to share the burden” that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on the nation.

He added that apart from the need to share burden, the citizenry must also not lose sight of the over 8700 projects the 2021 budget seeks to complete. He said this is a way of bringing finality to the culture of not completing projects previously done with tax payers’ monies.

“Consolidation is important for us because the macroeconomic indicators have been stable and clearly what we did in the past three and half years was what was able to support us in 2020 when the pandemic hit,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

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He called for adoption of positive behavioural change among Ghanaians, saying it is a critical driver for realising the President’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.

He rejected claims that Ghanaian taxpayers are worse off today because the Akufo-Addo administration has imposed more taxes on them.

He stated that a critical analysis of the taxes abolished during the first-term of the NPP administration show that taxpayers in net terms are better off now than under the previous NDC administration.

He said burden sharing would not only help transform the country, but also ensure the populace shares the opportunities that will emanate from its common efforts at building the Ghana we all want.

He called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to grow and transform the economy.

 

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