'Ofori-Atta’s Trade Ministry position will hurt business confidence, change him ' - Armah Buah to Akufo-Addo

Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buahk MP for Ellembelle, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah

Thu, 12 Jan 2023 Source: Mensah B. Ruth

A Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry and MP for Ellembelle, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah has described the President’s appointment of Ken Ofori-Atta as the acting Trade and Industry Minister as a slap-in-the-face of Ghanaian business community and does not exude confidence among businesses.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Armah Kofi Buah said the poor performance of the Finance Minister which is the major reason for the difficulties Ghanaians are facing coupled with the numerous hostile taxes he has brought on businesses makes him a wrong choice to act as Trade Minister.

“The acting appointment of the Finance Minister to the Ministry of Trade and Industry quite frankly was a surprise to a lot of people including myself, because, I think for Ghanaian businesses it’s a slap in the face. This is the Finance Minister whom about a hundred NPP Members of Parliament have called for his resignation except that they were disarmed based on the fact that he should be allowed to continue negotiation with the IMF."

"He is a Finance Minister who just survived a censure motion and has led us to the economic mess to which we still cannot find our way. We still don’t know where we are with the IMF negotiation. The Trade and Industry Ministry is a very critical one. We already know the challenges that businesses are going through with regard to the inflation rate, the forex challenges and a whole lot of issues. This Finance Minister has flipped flop on the issue of benchmark values which has direct implications to businesses”, he said.

Mr. Armarh-Kofi called on the President to immediately reconsider that decision to inspire business confidence.

“In this last budget, the Finance Minister basically scrapped the benchmark value, and you saw the uproar from traders and importers. The argument here is that if this is intended to protect manufacturing, then we have a long way to go because the manufacturing base is about 15%. Of everything we are eating and doing in Ghana, 85% are imported and so those arguments were clear. The Minister of Finance is the one that also has basically led us into the increase in VAT and you know the implication on businesses when it comes to VAT. What is worse is that this increase has created structural challenges.

"We now have flat rates, standard rates and the implementation is now a problem with the issue of uniformity as a lot of people are now cheating the system. With this chaotic VAT implementation background and the same Minister of Finance now going to be the one directly dealing with businesses… it doesn’t really inspire confidence at all”, he added.

The Member of Parliament for Ellembelle in addition to asking for a better convincing reason for the appointment urged the government to act quickly.

“With this President, I think we’ve gone beyond being surprised. I hope it’s very temporary but quite frankly this doesn’t inspire confidence. I still want more explanation. It is as if this president and his government are always basically taking the steps that would ruin or not inspire confidence in this economy and I think it’s unfortunate," noted.

Source: Mensah B. Ruth