THERE ARE strong indications that the beleaguered Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, may finally bow out from his position by this weekend as a search for his replacement intensifies.
Information available to DAILY GUIDE indicates that President Akufo-Addo is meeting his ministers this Sunday where the possible exit of Mr. Ofori-Atta may be communicated to them, following the intransigence of the Majority MPs who have indicated they cannot work with the minister.
A strong wind of change could blow following a reshuffle of the Cabinet which had been on the lips of Ghanaians for the umpteenth time.
The President may use the exit of Mr. Ofori-Atta to carry out the much-anticipated reshuffle to strengthen his hands as he looks forward to end his term in the next two years.
Sources close to the NPP say the best legacy the President can bequeath the party is handing over to another NPP administration after a free and fair election.
The ‘rebel’ MPs had insisted that the only way they could guarantee their support to the government, including the support for the 2023 Budget, is ousting the Finance Minister.
With the hard-line position taken by the MPs, which was made known to the leadership of the NPP at a meeting on Tuesday, the President is left with no choice than to accede to the demands of the MPs.
At the said meeting, which had in attendance NPP General Secretary, Justin Kodua Frimpong, and National Chairman, Stephen Ntim, and a top officer from the Jubilee House, it was made clear that there was no going back and that MPs’ position would be made known this weekend, a second in about three weeks.
The calls for the embattled minister’s head cut across with university dons joining the chorus that the minister was leaving on a ‘borrowed time’, and that he should leave for the market to respond.
According to Prof. Godfred Bokpin of the University of Ghana Business School, the continued stay in office of the Finance Minister was hurting the economy and the earlier he exited, the better it would be for the country.
Prof. Bokpin has explained that Mr. Ofori-Atta’s continued stay in office became untenable the moment he kicked against the signing to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
With the imminent exit of Ken Ofori-Atta, the searchlight is being thrown on a possible successor.
Three names including Abena Osei-Asare, a Deputy Minister to Ken Ofori-Atta, according DAILY GUIDE sources, have popped up.
Other names are Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, popularly called Napo, Minister of Energy, and Kojo Vincent Oppong-Nkrumah, who is a finance person per his educational qualification.
The Majority Caucus said they have lost confidence in the minister, despite the intervention of President Akufo-Addo.
A few weeks after agreeing to a plea by President Akufo-Addo to allow the minister to present the 2023 Budget Statement and conclude the negotiations with the IMF, the MPs said that the decision was no longer regarded, and are calling for his immediate sacking.
The MPs, numbering 98, have pointed out that until President Akufo-Addo immediately sacks Ofori-Atta, they would boycott next week’s budget presentation.
Speaking on Joy News’ PM Express, the MP for Asante-Akim North, Andy Appiah-Kubi, who doubles as spokesperson for the group, said Ofori-Atta’s position in government has become untenable, hence the fresh demand for his resignation.
“We’ve gone back to (our demand for the President to) sack him now and therefore, should the budget be presented under the stamp of the Finance Minister, we’ll not participate because as far as we’re concerned, we’re never going to do business with him.
“And if we’re not going to do business with him, he does not participate in any process from the Presidency to the House. We will not participate in deliberations too.”
“We’re not saying we won’t do the President’s business. We’re saying we won’t do the President’s business through Ofori-Atta. So, if anybody else comes with the President’s business, we’ll participate,” he said.
BY Fortune Kwame Alimi