Parliament unanimously approves Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister

Minister for Finance-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta, has been unanimously approved by Parliament in a voice vote

Parliament has unanimously approved Ken Ofori-Atta as Minister for Finance after a voice vote on Monday 29 March 2021.

The development follows a report by the appointments committee recommending his approval by consensus.

In their 22-page report signed by First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the appointments committee, Joe Osei-Owusu and Mrs Rosemary Arthur Sarkodie, Clerk to the committee, the committee by consensus, recommended to Parliament to approve the nomination of Ofori-Atta.

“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,” the appointments committee report stated.

No controversy

Asaase Radio‘s parliamentary correspondent, Philip Asiao, reported that “there was no show of controversy as both sides of parliament approved Ken Ofori-Atta as minister for finance.”

The minister-designate appeared before the committee on Thursday 25 March 2021 for four hours and for another four on Friday 26 March 2021, the only minister-nominee in President Akufo-Addo’s second-term government to have been vetted for two days.

Outcome of vetting

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.

Taxpayers better off

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.

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