The leadership of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on government, majority group in Parliament and all stakeholders to remain calm in the wake of agitations for Ken Ofori Atta’s resignation as the Minister of Finance.
A statement released yesterday by the National Chairman of NPP, Stephen Ayesu Ntim, said the National Executive body of the NPP had taken notice of a press conference held by some members of the Majority Caucus of Parliament, demanding amongst others, the immediate resignation or dismissal of Mr Ofori Atta and Charles Adu Boahen, Minister of State at the Finance Ministry.
In view of the above development, Mr Ntim said that the leadership of the party was engaging government as well as the Parliamentary Group, urging all stakeholders to remain calm as the party seeks an amicable resolution to the impasse.
He reiterated the party’s commitment, at all times, to engage Government on issues of utmost interest and concern to the party, Government and the citizenry.
Some NPP MPs held a press conference yesterday to impress on the President to relieve the Finance Minister of the responsibility of managing the national purse or risk losing their support for government business, going forward.
They also want the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, to be subjected to a similar fate.
The press conference was addressed by MP for Asante Akyem North, Andy Appiah-Kubi. He said the call for the resignation of the Finance Minister had been communicated to the Presidency, through the Majority leadership, but nothing had been done about it, hence the press conference.
“Notice is hereby served that until such persons as aforementioned are made to resign or removed from office, we members of the Majority caucus here in Parliament will not participate in any business of government by or for the President [or] by any other minister,” he threatened.
The MPs say their sentiments reflect the position of the NPP caucus in the House. This has also been a unanimous call by the opposition legislators who have constantly called for the Minister’s head.
One of the key cards on the table for the Majority MPs is the approval of the 2023 budget and economic statement of the government.
“If our request is not responded to positively, we will not be present for the budget hearing, neither will we participate in the debate,” Mr Appiah-Kubi further threatened.
In a related development, the Minority Caucus has filed a motion for the impeachment of the Minister of Finance.
The motion is expected to be moved by the Minority Leader during today’s proceedings.
The Minority has urged their counterparts in the Majority Caucus to throw their weight behind the motion to garner the two-thirds majority of 183 MPs needed to push for the Finance Minister’s removal.
Addressing a press conference in Parliament, the First Deputy Minority Whip, Ibrahim Ahmed, said when the Business Committee met last Monday, the Minority Leader indicated to the Majority Leader and the Chairman of the Business Committee that he was going to proceed with a motion to impeach of the Finance Minister.
He said the move was based on poor economic mismanagement, inconsistencies, non-performance of statutory obligations.
He, therefore, expressed shock at the move by the Majority Caucus to hold a press conference to call on the President to dismiss Mr Ofori-Atta.
“The Minority Leader told the chairman of the Business Committee, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, that as the representatives of the people, we must move a motion to call for the head of the Finance Minister.
“So, if our brothers in the Majority believe in this, what they should do is to support the motion by the Minority Leader for the dismissal of the Finance Minister,” he said.
Mr Ahmed described the press briefing by the Majority as long overdue since they failed in the past to act.
“If they meant well, the day they went to Cabinet meeting, and President Akufo-Addo pointed to them that ‘you want me to sack my finance minister when he was sponsoring my campaign where were you’ they should have acted”
“This is what the President told them in Cabinet meeting, and that was the day we were expecting them to come with such a statement, but you sat down and came to correct the communication outside to say that Mr Ofori-Atta performed for the first three years and that is why the President is not sacking him,” he said.
He added : “The reason why Nana Akufo-Addo does not want to change Ken Ofori-Atta is that Ofori-Atta used Databank to support his campaign to become President and therefore the Finance Ministry is as a compensation to the Finance Minister.”
Accusing the Majority Caucus of failing to come up with a motion to censure the Finance Minister, Mr Ahmed said if their counterparts meant well “we need two-thirds of MPs to sack the Finance Minister. So, it should not be the Majority or the Minority coming to make a press conference.”
According to Ahmed, if the NDC has 137 as Minority and the NPP has 137 as Majority plus one, and both sides believe that the Finance Minister is killing the economy and therefore he must go, it should not be difficult to mobilise 183 MPs to dismiss or to reshuffle him, if the President is failing to do that.