The questions asked by the Minority members who served on the 8-member committee that investigated the Finance Minister showed that they appeared not to have a full grasp of the issues they raised when Mr Ken Ofori-Atta appeared before them to answer the charges, a Professor at the University of Ghana Ransford Gyampo has said.
In the view of Prof Gyampo, the Finance Minister had the space to lecture the committee members when he should have been nailed with followed-up questions.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday November 26, he said “I’m disappointed with the Minority group, Majority group, both of them, they have failed. They don’t seem to appreciate the mandate given to them by Ghanaians in 2020 elections that effectively gave a hang parliament.
“We have a minority that came out to say Ken Ofori-Atta was not fit for purpose and so many things surrounded him make them believe he is not somebody they can approve to be Finance Minister they said it openly, yet when they had the opportunity to vote, apart from one or two of them on the appointments committee, the rest of them voted in full support of the very person they said they won’t support.
“Fast forward, this same Minority group, they told us they have a lot of charges against him for that reason the censure motion, they had opportunity to interact with him through the committee and I was expecting they will be able to nail him with the questions but if you look at it, they probably did not have their firm grasp of the issues because some of the questions, you expected them to ask follow up questions to nail him.”
“The Majority group, I thought they were men, I thought they were brave…It appears our hope in the hang parliament is dwindling.”
Meanwhile, the report of the 8-member committee has been laid before Parliament.
It was laid by co-chair, K. T. Hammond on Friday November 25.
The Second Deputy Speaker Andrew Asiamah directed that copies of the report be distributed to members. Procedurally, debate on it will take place in subsequent sittings, TV3’s Evelyne Tengmaa reported on Friday November 25.
Mr Ofori-Atta told the committee hearing on Friday November 18 that the proponents’ allegations do not have “weight for censure.”
He said each of the allegations leveled against him as false and went on to debunk each of them.
On the allegation of deliberate misreporting of economic data to Parliament, he said it is completely not true.
“Since I took office in 2017, I have served the country with integrity and honesty.
“Under my leadership at the Ministry of Finance, there have been significant improvements in the accurate reporting of public finances.
“Today, under President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanaians are enjoying greater accountability and transparency in the management of the public purse than any other period under the Fourth Republic.”
He said since 2017, the government has complied with the reporting provisions in the Public Financial Management Act 2016 (Act 921), including Budget Implementation report, Fiscal Reports, Public Debt Report, Petroleum Revenue Management Reports, ESLA report, etc.
On the issue of not including the financial sector clean up cost and the energy sector IPP payments in the deficit, the Finance Minister said contrary to the position of others, they were clearly stated.
“I want to emphasize, with the Budget document as evidence, that these payments were reflected in the fiscal framework.”
“Energy sector IPP payments were treated as “amortisation” and the non-cash financial sector clean-up payments were reflected in the “memo item” (Refer to Appendix 2A of the Fiscal Tables in the relevant Annual Budget),” the minister said.
Ghanaians will recall that in support of data presented by the Ministry of Finance, in May 2020, Dr Albert Touna Mama, the then country representative of the IMF, came on Joy FM’s News File Programme to state that there was no misrepresentation of data by the government as was being alleged. Dr Touna Mama said government was not the one that presented the figures that the IMF published in its statements.
He explained that the difference in figures was as a result of a difference in the methodology of calculation, adding that the figure in fiscal deficit in their statement was a figure they generated themselves from the data government presented to them, having added financial and energy sector payments in line with their methodology, which is different from government’s methodology.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana