The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, says the calls for President Akufo-Addo to relieve his Finance Minister of his post may be premature under the current circumstances.
“I think the matter is about procedure and timing,” he said in an interview he granted Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday, October 26.
Responding to a question about his personal position on the demands for Ken Ofori-Atta to be sacked, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated that his major concern has been the ripple effects that would ensue from the Minister’s resignation at “this material moment.”
On Tuesday, October 25, over 80 New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislators demanded the immediate sacking of the Finance Minister.
They threatened to boycott the reading of the 2023 budget if President Akufo-Addo turns a deaf ear to their request.
“We have made our great concern to the President through the parliamentary leadership and the leadership of the party without any positive response. We are, by this medium, communicating our string desire that the President changes the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry [Charles Adu Boahen] without any further delays.”
At a press conference delivered by the Asante Akyem North MP, Andy Appiah-Kubi, the Majority MPs expressed displeasure with the management of the economy under Ken Ofori-Atta.
In a reaction to this, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted that he held a meeting with the caucus members prior to their press conference.
“They invited me. My concern was the timing and the effect of any such move at this material moment when we are about concluding our negotiation with the IMF.
“Is it the appropriate and propitious time to do what they are calling for? So I tried to reason with them,” he disclosed.
He added, “If you are a leader, you don’t have a persona; you listen to what your flock would say. If you have a position, you must try to convince and persuade the others. If you try to persuade and as a matter of principle they are not buying into your principle and you think they are wrong, then you must resign.”
Currently, an “overwhelming majority” of the NPP legislators – numbering about 95 – has joined the campaign for Mr Ofori-Atta to step down.
The MPs say their sentiments reflect the position of the NPP caucus in the House.
This has been a unanimous call for the opposition legislators who have constantly called for the Minister’s head with some civil society organisations joining the fray at a point.
One of the key cards on the table for these majority MPs is the approval of the 2023 budget which will be pivotal to expenditure, especially at a time when government finances are in limbo.
“If our request is not responded to positively, we will not be present for the budget hearing, neither will we participate in the debate,” Mr Appiah-Kubi indicated.
The development comes amid a worsening economic downturn in the country as the Ministry looks to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a crucial bailout.
Disruptions in IMF deal
President Akufo-Addo has asked for more time for the embattled Finance Minister to conclude negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before any talks of resignation.
Documents available to JoyNews suggest a deal could be reached with the IMF in three weeks for a $3 billion balance of payment support.
This, the president believes, could be disrupted if Ken Ofori-Atta is sacked or forced to resign.
This was an outcome of a meeting held by President Akufo-Addo and NPP Members of Parliament over the demand for the minister to be sacked over his handling of the economy.
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