Minister slapped

Dr. Kwamena DufuorThe Fitness of Dr. Kwamena Dufuor as a solid economist and his competence as the Minister of Finance were yesterday questioned and brought into doubt by the Minority in Parliament.

Dr. Dufuor’s aptitude is being questioned on the basis of his track-record when he was Governor of Bank of Ghana (BoG) from 1996 to 2000, and the probing was apparently ignited by the Minister’s recent allegations that the Central Bank is responsible for the current depreciation of the cedi by spending over $1 billion to prop up the currency as well as the redenomination of the cedi.

Addressing a news conference in Accra on Tuesday, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the comments of the Finance Minister were untrue, and explained the depreciation of the cedi as thus: “if we have Ministers of State declaring that the ‘economy is broke’, Deputy Ministers who have told the world that the gold reserves which are the spine of a country’s monetary regime have vanished into thin air and that a ruling government has stolen all the country’s gold reserves, these palpable untruths will conspire to negatively affect a country’s fiscal regime.

The NDC has peddled lies to win elections and helped to wreck the economy; they must now sit up and fix it, as simple as that”.

The Minority MPs said they are surprised that Dr. Dufuor had made the said allegation because during his tenure at the BoG, “government of Ghana cheques were bouncing left and right, 91-day Treasurer Bills stood at over 40 percent, lending rates hovered around 50 percent, inflation reached 41 percent and the cedi depreciated by 50 percent”.

They continued that during that same period, “the government of Ghana had to repay IMF for lying about payments on our external debts” and one Hajia Baby Ocansey walked away with an amount of $1.5 million from the Central Bank.

“Certainly with such a record, a Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Duffour should not be throwing any stones at all,” the MPs added.

In response to Dr. Duffour’s allegation that the redenomination of the cedi is another reason for the depreciation of the cedi, the MPs wondered how “aftershocks” of the redenomination of the currency would be felt only after two years after the exercise.

“In any event, one may ask Dr. Duffuor what accounted for the over 600 percent depreciation of the cedi when he served as the Governor of the Bank of Ghana; the pound sterling has been losing ground over the past 10 years against the dollar, has the pound been redenominated?…..Such economics should not have any portion in an era when we are supposed to be moving forward in the right direction,” Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo & Awudu Mahama