The number of ordinary Ghanaians and members of civil society who have called for the dismissal of Ken Ofori-Atta as finance minister due to perceived incompetence is countless. However, the decision by some eminent members of society to join the call is significant. In this article, YEN.com.gh recounts five high-profile members of society who have suggested that Ofori-Atta does not deserve to be in office because he is incompetent.
PAY ATTENTION: Enjoy reading our stories? Join YEN.com.gh's Telegram channel for more!
Never in the history of Ghana's Fourth Republic has one finance minister received widespread criticism for the way he has conducted his office like Ken Ofori-Atta has.
Although a former finance minister like Seth Terkper faced the usual political banter and criticism from the opposition, Ofori-Atta's is a special case.
Top members of society and eminent members of the NPP, who hardly make public pronouncements on controversial topics have been compelled to break out of their hallowed spaces to speak out against Ofori-Atta's management of the Ghanaian economy in recent times.
Already over 90 out of the 137 governing NPP Members of Parliament are insisting that president Nana Akufo-Addo removes Ofori-Atta because he has been incompetent.
PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see YEN.com.gh News on your News Feed!
A former civil servant and an executive of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) Nana Yaa Jantuah recently wept on live TV over the harsh economic crisis the country has been plunged into under the stewardship of Ofori-Atta and the NPP government.
Why Ofori-Atta is being described as incompetent
Ghana has for the first time in its history been compelled to roll out a debt restructuring programme to stagger interest payments for its domestic and foreign debts. Ghana currently owes a total of over GH¢575 billion.
Inflation has been skyrocketing consistently since the middle of 2022 and is currently at an all-time high of 53.6% year-on-year in January 2023.
According to the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the cedi depreciated by a significant 19.1% to the American dollar in January 2023. The BoG's Summary of Economic and Financial Data showed that local currency sold at GH¢10.60 to one US dollar in January 2023 on the interbank market, compared with ¢8.57 in December 2022.
Ghana is currently begging the IMF for a bailout of $3 billion to reset the economy and has begging bilateral lenders like China to cancel its debts.
These poor economic figures have translated into hardship for Ghanaians, especially the poor, who now use a huge part of their meagre income on food.
But it is not the poor macroeconomic figures that have caused disaffection for the finance minister, but essentially how he has gone about trying to improve things.
5 high-profile Ghanaians who think Ofori-Atta is incompetent
Although the current economic crisis has been the basis for the criticisms against Ken Ofori-Atta, respected members of the society like Dr Konadu Apraku, Kwame Pianim, Justice Sophia Akuffo, Dr Kwabena Duffuor and John Mahama, have cited different reasons why they think Ofori-Atta does not deserve to be finance minister.
1. Kwame Pianim: Ofori-Atta is worst finance minister in Ghana's history
Kwame Pianim, a respected economist and one of the eminent elders of the governing NPP called out Ofori-Atta, an investment banker, specifically for the proposals in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
To him, the fundamental flaws in the DDEP clearly show that the finance minister is clueless.
"This exchange programme is like a time bomb that Ken is putting under this economy. For the next 30 to 40 years, we are going to suffer from it. It is a time bomb because he is squeezing billions of Cedis from this economy," he cried out in an interview with TV3.
2. Dr Konadu Apraku: It's dangerous to keep Ofori-Atta as finance minister
Another big shot in the NPP, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, thinks the president is risking his legacy by keeping Ofori-Atta as finance minister.
The economist and experienced politician told state-owned GTV that because over 90 legislators affiliated with their party want the minister gone, he must listen.
"In politics, you have to be sensitive to public opinion. Sometimes, it may not be the truth, but that is the sentiments, and the sentiments of the people need to be examined, and acted upon if it is possible," he counselled.
3. Sophia Akuffo: Former CJ thinks Ofori-Atta has failed
Justice Sophia Akuffo, a legal luminary appointed by Nana Akufo-Addo to the high office of a Chief Justice, thinks the finance minister's decision to include pensioners in the DDEP is the worst decision any finance minister can take.
She also said the minister has drained the public purse that was handed to him to manage.
"If it were somebody else, I will still feel the same. The person who was given the responsibility to manage the economy, I don’t think he has done a good job,” she told Joy News.
4. John Mahama: Incompetent Ofori-Atta plunged Ghana into economic chaos
Shortly after former CJ Sophia Akuffo's unexpected public criticism of Ofori-Atta, former president John Mahama said the legal luminary's concerns are justified.
He called the president arrogant and Ofori-Atta incompetent for ignoring his efforts to proffer genuine solutions to help salvage the economy early on.
“When I noticed we were running into an economic ditch, I made several calls for a genuine dialogue and national consensus on an economic programme. The arrogance and intransigence of a president and incompetence of a finance minister and the Economic Management Team have led us here,” he lamented.
5. Dr Kwabena Duffuor: Ofori-Atta and the EMT must go
Then recently, Dr Kwabena Duffuor a former finance minister and Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said the fact that managing an economy is a genuinely difficult job does not absolve Ofori-Atta from his poor management of the Ghanaian economy.
He noted that the finance minister should not be the only person taking the criticism for the current economic crisis but the entire Economic Management Team.
He called on Nana Akufo-Addo to dissolve his entire Economic Management Team for incompetence, stressing that the team won't be able to solve the economic crisis it created in the first place.
While president Akufo-Addo has insisted that his finance is doing a great job, it is curious that people of high repute in society would call the competence of the same man into question. It remains to be seen what the president will do about calls to let go of the beleaguered Ken Ofori-Atta.
Isaac Adongo calls Ofori-Atta a hypocrite
YEN.com.gh has reported in a previous story that NDC MP Isaac Adongo heavily criticised finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta for quoting scripture amid the brouhaha over the domestic debt exchange programme.
The Bolgatanga MP said it was infuriating that the minister would take a decision that would deny pension bondholders their money and still quote scripture.
Ken Ofori-Atta appeared in Parliament on Thursday, February 16, 2023, to brief lawmakers about the controversial debt exchange programme.
New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!