Parliament approves Ken Ofori-Atta without expected controversy

Ken Ofori-Atta
Ken Ofori-Atta

Parliament on Monday 29 March 2021 unanimously approved Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister without any controversy.

The House approved him after a voice vote based on a report submitted to it by the appointments committee asking for his approval by consensus.

Ofori-Atta becomes the first minister-nominee under Akufo-Addo’s second-term administration to have been vetted over a two-day period spanning a total of eight hours. The approval was without any controversy as earlier feared by the majority side of the house.

In their 22-page report, the appointments committee said: “The committee, after deliberations on the nominations of His Excellency, the President for “Ministerial Appointments” and in accordance with Article 256 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 172 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, recommends for the approval of the House, the nomination of Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta for appointment as Minister responsible for Finance.”

During his vetting Ofori-Atta identified revenue mobilisation under property rates, addressing levels of tax exemption and digitisation of tax administration and collection as the three main areas on which he will focus.

These three thematic areas, he said, will help push the current ratio of tax to gross domestic product of about 12.5% to the proposed ratio of at least 17%, in an effort to progress towards Ghana Beyond Aid.

He described the 2021 Budget statement “as a battle cry” to all Ghanaians “to share the burden” that COVID-19 has placed on us as a nation. He again noted that aside from the need to burden-share, Ghana must not lose sight of the fact that the 2021 Budget seeks to complete at least 8,700 projects as the government’s way of bringing an end to the culture of not completing projects funded with taxpayers’ monies.

“Consolidation is important for us because the macroeconomic indicators have been stable, and clearly what we did in the past three and a half years was what was able to support us in 2020 when the pandemic hit,” Ofori-Atta said.

Ofori-Atta said that a critical analysis of taxes abolished in the first term of the Akufo-Addo government showed that, in net terms, taxpayers are better off now than they were under the John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government.

“When you look at the taxes we abolished, reduction in electricity and what we have done during this COVID-19 era, clearly, on a net basis, we have not really hurt the Ghanaian taxpayer, if you compare us to the previous government,” he said.

He appealed to Ghanaians to embrace the call to share the financial burden of the state and assured them that the government is still committed to moving the economy from a taxation-driven to a production-based model.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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