A former Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, has cautioned against the call for the immediate removal of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta from office.
According to him the abrupt removal of Charles Adu Boahen, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, from office just last week has created a vacuum and therefore removing Ofori-Atta as well even before the Budget statement would be a double jeopardy.
He, therefore, pleaded with the Majority Group to fully cooperate with the finance minister for the latter to present the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy in Parliament this week despite the former’s avowed resolve to get him out of office.
“We are told the date for the Budget statement is long overdue. It would be economically suicidal to risk any further avoidable delay. Let the man present the Budget. The signals we are picking are disturbingly worrying and must be addressed in direct and candid language because of the sensitive and difficult economic situation we are experiencing as a country and its global nature, it would be prudent for us to cooperate with and fully support Ken Ofori-Atta to, at least, present the Budget and Policy statement as well as see to the successful passage of the Appropriation Bill in our collective, rather than individual interests”, Dr Assibey-Yeboah stated in a brief conversation with journalists on last Saturday.
Some disgruntled members of the Majority Caucus have threatened to boycott anything and everything that has to do with Ken Ofori-Atta, including the upcoming budget presentation.
This decision by the Majority Caucus is what has moved the former Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament to call for calm.
“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 haste as it seems to be the case now, could end in a waste and turn out to be destructive rather than constructive”, Dr Assibey-Yeboah said.
He added, “The country is in an era of economic crisis where world economies are in a recession. We cannot afford to risk a decision that would disturb our economy”.
The Minority Caucus filed a motion of censure for the immediate removal of the finance minister even before he reads out the Budget and Policy Statement but the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin set up an 8-member ad-hoc Committee to probe the seven (7) grounds or allegations contained in the motion.
Dr Assibey Yeboah lauded the Minority Caucus for their tolerance by giving Ken Ofori-Atta his right to be heard by the Committee, calling on the Majority to emulate the former.
“Even the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament gave Ken Ofori-Atta his right to be heard by the Committee. At least they tolerated him and agreed to disagree but still, they worked with him on 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 democracy or be a fitting member of any group. You have made your demand on what you want to happen to the appointee, the appointor has accepted your demand and both parties have agreed on the roadmap to that specific demand. That roadmap has been told to the general public and there is calm. 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 the Government”, He said.
Meanwhile, Ken Ofori-Atta has appeared before the ad-hoc committee probing the censure motion for his removal. The finance minister has rebuffed the allegations against him and challenged the veracity of those allegations.
The Committee is yet to submit its findings and decisions.