I am one person who does not like to indulge in issues that are political in nature, especially when they involve two feuding factions.
This has been my guiding principle since I started my career as a journalist some 23 years ago.
There have been occasions when I have been pushed to the wall, and although I should have fired back at those who tried vainly to drag my name in the mud under strange circumstances, I chose to remain silent.
I wish I could stick to this principle but certain developments of late have hit me hard and for once, I have decided to come out strongly in defence of the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, who has come under siege by some people in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
These people have maligned the minister to the extent that they are saying he is not even an economist but an accountant who cannot manage the economic challenges the country is going through. They have gone all lengths and even impressed on the President, John Dramani Mahama, to sack him.
The President, human as he is, made this revelation when he met a group of foreign visitors at the Flagstaff House in Accra early this year.
That statement from the President made it abundantly clear that he had confidence in the Finance Minister.
I know Mr. Terkper was not just appointed because he was a card-bearing member of the NDC. I believe several factors came to play and the president might have taken into consideration his qualification and attributes which include honesty, humility, modesty, discipline and hardwork.
All these informed the President, who gave him the opportunity to serve in his government. We must not also forget the fact that Mr. Terkper served in the Prof. John Evans Atta Mills/Mahama administration as Deputy Minister in that same ministry.
I, therefore, feel saddened that some people in the NDC have decided to descend on the minister as if he were the cause of all the economic difficulties the country is experiencing.
I knew Mr. Terkper way back in the 1970s when he was a student at the University of Cape Coast, and I was in secondary school. He was a friend of one of my cousins, Edison Amanor, and they were always together during vacation.
He was one of the ambitious young men in Kroboland at the time who inspired a lot of us to learn and strive to attain excellence in whatever field we wanted. He was indeed my role model at the time.
I also remember the volume of work he, together with Mr. George Blankson, the Director General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and one other guy, did in preparation towards the introduction of the Value Added Tax in the small office located within the NCR building opposite the Roxy Cinema at Adabraka, Accra.
So when Mr. Terkper was appointed the substantive minister in 2013, I knew he was somebody who could help to turn things around for a better Ghana.
However, after almost one-and-half years in office, the challenges appear unsurmountable, and those who do not understand the issues at play continue to blame Mr. Terkper.
The reality on the ground is that Mr. Terkper is one Finance Minister who needs several pats on the back because of the challenges that persisted when he took office.
Don’t forget that when he took office, there was a huge deficit that had to be dealt with. Part of this deficit was the huge wage bill that was caused as a result of the Single Spine Salary regime.
Those who have followed the developments on the economic landscape would testify that he had been working assiduously to reduce this deficit that had crippled the economy.
Additionally, just when things started picking up, then came the energy crisis which was caused mainly by the disruption in the supply of crude from the West African Gas Pipeline project in Nigeria.
Besides the fall in cocoa and gold prices on the world market also worsened our plight.
Ghanaians should also not forget that the protracted election petition that was before the Supreme Court for eight good months slowed down businesses. Even though some people continued to dispute this claim, that was the reality at the time.
These and other issues militated against the growth of the economy, and it is my wish that members of the NDC calling for the minister’s head should rather appreciate the efforts he is putting in place to overcome these challenges.
They should continue reassuring Ghanaians that things would soon get better and give Ghanaians hope, instead of calling for the dismissal of the minister.
I know that expectations are high and Ghanaians want more from the NDC who have the mandate to make Ghanaians enjoy comfortable and dignified lives.
I believe Mr. Terkper’s honesty is one compelling reason he is telling Ghanaians what the real situation looks like, and this should not warrant him being called names such as the biblical Judas.
Mr. Terkper’s leadership style reminds me of how the late Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu also approached issues when he was the Finance Minister during the Kufuor administration.
It is a fact that times are rough, but should we blame the Minister of Finance for all the economic woes?
I know the assurances President Mahama continue to give Ghanaians that the economy will turn around by the end of the year will come to pass and that alone gives me hope that he has confidence in his Minister of Finance.
What we need to do is to keep praying for God’s protection for our leaders so that they continue to work harder to better the lot of Ghanaian and stop looking for a scape goat in the person of Seth Terkper.