AS PART of efforts to get President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to sack Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen, Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, the Majority in Parliament will be holding a caucus meeting today, Thursday, November 10, 2022.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) are holding the crunch meeting this morning to take a final decision on Ken Ofori-Atta’s exit following his recent utterances.
The Majority caucus says it wants to send a strong message to the President that they stand by the agreement reached with him over the removal of the two ministers at the Finance Ministry.
DAILY GUIDE sources close to the Majority caucus have indicated that should the President fail to call the Finance Minister to order, the caucus would likely boycott the minister’s upcoming budget presentation in Parliament.
Some are even suggesting that the embattled minister should not be allowed to read the budget, citing the other time when the budget was read by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in the absence of Ken Ofori-Atta, who was then indisposed.
The lawmakers, the source categorically stated, are not standing down on their decision to get the ministers dismissed, as nothing could make them rescind their decision.
The sources said the Majority caucus will listen to their leaders on the outcome of a meeting they had with a prominent chief who had been engaged by Jubilee House to mediate in the crisis.
After this morning’s crunch meeting, the NPP MPs will hold another meeting with the party leadership at the Alisa Hotel this afternoon on the same issue of demanding Ofori-Atta’s exit.
The anger of the Majority caucus follows recent remarks the Finance Minister has been making about his determination to restore the broken economy and what he has gone through with regards to pain and aches.
But the Majority in Parliament disagrees with the minister, saying they still stand by their decision and are waiting for the six weeks grace period agreement they had with the President.
However, the Majority has distanced itself from the censure motion of the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) which will be moved in Parliament today to get Ken Ofori-Atta removed from office.
DAILY GUIDE sources continued that there is a behind-the-scenes dialogue between the two sides in the House to postpone the censure motion, to give the President the chance to fire his Finance Minister.
The MP for Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro, Sylvester Tetteh, had earlier hit Ken Ofori-Atta of acting in bad faith after the President pleaded with the Majority caucus in Parliament to give him some time in respect of calls for his removal.
According to him, the minister’s remarks, after the President asked for more time, may affect the President’s plea.
Speaking Tuesday on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana, Mr. Tetteh warned that “But when the Finance Minister, after this, goes public and starts making such public statements, we don’t know the challenges he’s gone through… I mean, these are comments in bad taste, and that is what I am saying, from where I sit, the signals I am picking, such comments, if it is not checked, will go down on the President’s plea.”
“We had a meeting, and the President had made a plea; the Majority caucus had taken that plea in good faith and to have gone through a process the President had asked… One party, in this case, should not go to town. It’s not good,” he added.
“Events after and the subsequent pronouncements by the minister, the signals I am picking, if they don’t address it, he will come to the House to meet an empty chamber,” he stated.
The Majority believes the Finance Minister has underperformed and driven the economy off-gear hence the crisis the nation has found itself in.
But President Akufo-Addo convened an emergency meeting with the caucus where he is said to have made some appeal to give the minister time to finalise Ghana’s bailout with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and present next year’s budget statement.
NPP Warns Majority Against Move
Meanwhile, the leadership of the New Patriotic Party, following broader consultations and engagements with stakeholders, “has resolved and hereby directs all members of the Majority Caucus in Parliament to abstain from a scheduled vote of censure being sought by the Minority Caucus against Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance.”
“By this directive, the leadership of the Majority caucus especially, the Whips, are to ensure that no Member of the Majority Caucus partakes in this exercise by the Minority group in Parliament. While the National Executive body acknowledges the prevailing socio-economic conditions in the country and the need for urgent remedial interventions, it is our utmost position that the demand of the NDC-led Minority caucus is ill-intended and aimed at derailing government’s efforts at resolving current socio-economic upheavals.
“The leadership acknowledges that the Minister for Finance is the leader of government’s negotiation team with the International Monetary Fund. Considering that negotiation with the IMF is nearly completed, the National Executive body of the party strongly believes that the removal of the lead person spearheading the negotiation may adversely impact the progress made thus far.
“It is worth noting that when similar calls were made for the head of Mr. Seth Terkper, the then Minister for Finance during the socio-economic turbulence under the erstwhile Mahama administration in 2015, the NDC-led Majority caucus objected to those calls and rose to the defence of Mr. Terkper, a clear indication that the NDC lacks credibility on this matter,” it said in a statement.
The NPP added, “The leadership of the NPP wishes to assure our Members of Parliament and the Ghanaian populace that there are ongoing internal engagements aimed at addressing legitimate concerns expressed by various stakeholders regarding the management of the economy, including calls for the resignation or dismissal of the Minister for Finance.”
By Vincent Kubi