General News of Thursday, 14 December 2017
The Minority in Parliament has criticised the government’s purported decision to pay off the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Johnson Asiama.
It said the intended removal of Dr Asiama, coming on the heels of the forcible resignation of the immediate past Governor, Dr Nashiru Issahaku, would undermine the independence of the BoG and send wrong signals to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the international business community.
In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu; the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, and the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the over politicisation of public institutions would destroy and weaken those institutions.
Dr Asiama’s fate is said to be uncertain, as his legal advisor has said the government is pushing for his exit from the central bank.
His legal team is yet to begin discussions over a negotiated package for him.
Sources at the BoG said if Dr Asiama’s conditions were accepted, then he would be paid his salary for the remainder of his contract.
He will also be paid all entitlements due him, including his end-of-service benefits, as was done in the case of Dr Issahaku.
The Daily Graphic has gathered that Mrs Josephine Ankomah, who heads Ecobank in The Gambia, is highly tipped to succeed Dr Asiama when his terms of exit are concluded.
Mr Iddrisu said he had felt that the removal of Dr Issahaku as Governor was enough, but now the Second Deputy Governor was also facing removal.
He said other public institutions also faced similar fates in terms of the removal of the heads of those institutions.
“This is not too good. It is not in the interests of the state. The Minority would have to fight this encroachment in public institutions,” he said.
Mr Iddrisu, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South, said Parliament passed the Bank of Ghana Act which sought to give independence to the bank.
However, he said, the current move to remove the Second Deputy Governor would rather paint a picture of the lack of independence of the central bank in the eyes of the international community.
“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is destroying and weakening public institutions with over-politicisation of institutions, which is not in the national interest.
“The move will undermine the independence of the BoG and send wrong signals to the IMF and the international business community,” he said.
Minority Chief Whip
Alhaji Muntaka said the decision to get the Second Deputy Governor out would affect the fundamentals of the country’s democracy and further weaken public institutions.
Besides, he said, the incessant desire by the government to change the heads of public institutions and replace them with officers that it perceived as sympathetic to it would affect the professionalism of workers.
Alhaji Muntaka, who is the MP for Asawase, said professionals might see themselves as either working for or against the government.
That, he said, would not be good for the cohesion needed to propel the country’s socio-economic development.
Mr Ablakwa said the removal of the Second Deputy Governor had some financial liabilities to the state, since he would go home with a package.
For instance, he said, Dr Issahaku, who was ‘forced’ to resign, had retired on his salary.
He said if Dr Asiama also retired on his salary, the country would be saddled with paying the salaries of a former governor and a former deputy governor.
Mr Ablakwa, who is the MP for North Tongu, asked Dr Asiama to resist any attempt to pay him off to send a signal to the government that public officers were not ready to accept such moves.
He asked President Akufo-Addo to show his credentials as a human rights lawyer by rescinding the decision to pay off Dr Asiama.