A group of party activists, sympathetic to the ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC),under the cloak of Peoples Forum (PF), has reminded the detractors of the Finance Minister to direct their energies on salving the sinking image of the Cedi as against all the international currencies and leave the Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper alone.
This latest twist comes barely a week after some Chiefs, Traditional leaders and Youth from Krobo in the Eastern Region, jumped to the defense of the Minister, telling President John Mahama to ignore such calls.
But at a lengthy press conference in Accra last Monday and addressed by the Spokesperson of (PF), Clement Amole, stated clearly that it was rather unfortunate to singled out Mr. Terkper for the current economic hardship, whiles other members of the economic management team are around.
The group, noted that in the past couple of weeks, “we have observed that the calls for the dismissal of the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, has been particularly pervasive”.
They said, “Given the very challenging economic situation confronting Ghana presently, it may suffice to say that all sorts of agitations for changes in strategy are normal reactions”.
Mr. Amole noted that, “it is also a normal reaction, considering the challenging economic situation in the country presently, to prompt some segment of the society to lay the blame squarely on the laps of the individual heading the outfit responsible for managing the finances of the country”.
He said, “These are all rational responses to the negative stimulus that a presumed ailing economy can present. But beyond the spontaneous reactions, what are the hard realities?
The group has asked that, “Would the dismissal of the Finance Minister suddenly put the economy back on its tracks? Would another Finance Minister mean a suddenly transformed economy? Can an individual Finance Minister secure the spiraling economy without cooperation from all quarters?
He explained that “it would be hard to answer these questions in the affirmative because the facts are clear: the structure of the Ghanaian economy is an all-encompassing phenomenon that allows the Finance Minister to play his role in a broad game-plan involving Parliamentarians, the Executive Cabinet, Economic Advisors and Civil Society Groups.
According to him, this quadrangle of contributors makes it almost impossible to heap blames of the economic challenges on an individual Finance Minister.
‘There is an Economic Management Team duly headed by the Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, who is doing their best in the wake of the difficulties we find ourselves in. The team is amply composed of representatives from key institutions of the economy, including the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance.
Decisions concerning the running of the economy are collectively taken through an intricate collaboration with Cabinet. Why single out one man, when it appears certain decisions have so far not effectively reined in the fundamentals needed to eliminate the nagging economic challenges.
As much as we cannot disband the economic management team, so can we not just uproot the Finance Minister Seth Terpker who has so far shown that despite the huge backlash of the tough decisions he should be coordinating, he is not averse to carrying through important economic reforms that should put the Ghanaian economy back on its right tracks he maintained.
We dare say that the problems facing the economy are more than ‘skin-deep’; it goes right to the core of the fundamentals the economy is hinged on and how they are easily susceptible to extraneous factors.
Several economists have agreed that it is perhaps time to rethink the fundamentals of the Ghanaian economy in a bipartisan forum where the real problems and solutions to the cause of our current predicament would be discussed.
Topmost is the fact that our economy is still in its elementary stage of virtually no value addition, save for the efforts by the services industry to circumvent the status-quo.
Ghana’s economy needs to be transformed into semi-secondary economy where natural resources that were hitherto exported in their raw forms are given a certain level of value addition to attract more foreign exchange, technology transfer and a general sense of industry and commerce.
The fluctuations on the world market of trade in resources such as Gold, Cocoa, Timber, etc., which we still export in raw forms have proven to be the bane of our current predicament.
The group, which includes others like Godwin Tamakloe, Spencer Quaye of ‘Inside Ghana’ believed that, “the current Finance Minister has shown swiftness in the manner he has coordinated the plugging of the problems that keep popping up due to the very weak nature of our economic fundamentals. He was instrumental in overseeing foreign exchange reforms recently when the depreciation of the local currency got out of hand.
They said, Mr. Terkper “has shown boldness in endorsing tax widening measures to boost government income. These measures are not exactly easy to swallow on the short term, but the cumulative effects on the long run are what visionary managers of the economy would want to gamble on”.
“Not so many Finance Ministers have shown such penchant to okay tax measures that will draw consternation to themselves from people who naturally are averse to contributing their quota towards national development”.
“We know that opponents of the intense economic reforms currently being undertaken by the Mahama administration are both from the opposition political parties who may have realized the long-term benefits of these reforms and wouldn’t want the credit to go to the current administration”.
They claimed that, “a group within the ruling NDC whose call for the dismissal of the Finance Minister is borne out of possible myopic interest or boredom with having the an individual manning such an important Ministry through the twist and turns of the economy”.
Besides, they observed the “President who has the sole prerogative to appoint ministers (Of course with the support of his trusted advisors) appear to have confidence in Mr. Terkper to deliver. Why should the President be heckled into ousting a member of his winning team at a critical time when he least wants to see his plans derailed?
Mr. Amole stressed that “We think it will be a mistake for the President to kowtow to the whims of a few vested interests to axe a member of the team he believes in”.
“If he [President] wants to make any changes, it should be based purely on his utmost conviction”, adding “We trust the honest leadership of President John Mahama, and we would like to urge him to keep on resisting attempts of these anti-Terkper interest groups to force him to take the wrong decision”.