Following the announcement of new nominees for ministerial positions under the second administration of the Akufo-Addo government, Ken Ofori-Atta who has been retained as the Finance Minister becomes the first to hold that portfolio twice in a row under the fourth republic.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on January 21, 2021 submitted to Parliament, names of 27 persons to be vetted and, subsequently, considered for approval as ministers of state.
Among the list of Ministers to be retained was Ken Ofori-Atta who served as the Finance Minister in his first administration.
Ken Ofori-Atta who is a cousin to the president was an economist and investment banker, in the private sector before retiring in February 2012 to actively join the NPP. He is also the Co-Founder of Data Bank.
During his 1st term, Ken Ofori-Atta took some rather drastic measures to reform the economy. This included the clean up of the banking sector in the years 2017 and 2018 as part of measures to reform the sector.
This he said was aimed at creating a better operational environment for banks in the country.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the minister said even though health and economy was hit hard by the pandemic, the ministry implemented a GH¢1,342million Covid-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to protect lives, they also operationalized GH¢1.2 Billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) to support businesses, while they launched a GH¢2 billion Guarantee Scheme to enable SMEs borrow at a more affordable rate.
Aside these achievements, his appointment also comes a shock to others because of his involvement in some controversial deals including the most recent Agyapa deal.
The Minority in Parliament and other stakeholders called for the resignation of the minister after then Special prosecutor insisted that the corruption risk assessment report indicted the Finance Minister in the Agyapa deal.
In the Special Prosecutor’s corruption risk assessment transaction report, the Special Prosecutor argued that consultations over the agreement were not comprehensive and innovative enough.
He revealed that selection and appointment of advisors for the agreement did not meet the “fundamentals of probity, transparency, and accountability.”
Mr. Amidu in his report also took a swipe at the various officials who took part in the processes leading to the approval of the agreement.
According to him, the actors flouted several laws with impunity, prior to the approval of the agreement.
The deal was subsequently put on hold for broader consultation on October 5, 2020.
Past history of Finance Ministers
Although Professor Kwesi Botchwey served as Finance Minister for 13 years nonstop, a greater part of those years was under the military regime. Under the Fourth Republic, Prof. Botchwey was only Minister of Finance between January 1993 and 1995 before he handed over to Mr Richard Kwame Peprah, who served in that capacity until January 2001.
Since then, all Finance Ministers (Messrs Yaw Osafo Maafo, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Anthony Akoto Osei, Kwabena Duffuor, and Seth Terkper) served for a maximum of four years, with Dr. Akoto Osei, who replaced Baah-Wiredu, serving the shortest period.
Thus, should President Akufo-Addo reappoint Mr. Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister, the latter will be on his way to breaking the pattern that all finance ministers have suffered since the advent of the 1992 Constitution.
It will also set him up to become the second longest-serving Finance Minister since Ghana’s independence, should he remain in that position until the end of the President’s tenure in January 2025 (without prejudice to the election petition at the Supreme Court).