Ken Ofori-Atta’s absence ahead of 2021 budget presentation worrying – Seth Terkper

A former finance minister, Seth Terkper, has expressed concern over the absence of the Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta ahead of the 2021 budget presentation.

According to him, there are some components within the budget that would require deeper knowledge and understanding from the finance minister in order for the presentation to be delivered.

Speaking with the B&FT Newspaper monitored by GhanaWeb, Terkper pointed out that some key aspects in the budget could only be captured by the Finance Minister.

“The budget has four components, some of which may require only the minister of finance or his deputy to address them. The first component is the budget speech, which is read in parliament.

“The second aspect is the budget statement, which is tabled in parliament. The third aspect is the economic policy, and the fourth is the appropriation bill,” he explained.

He further noted: “The third component is the referral of estimates to relevant standing committees of the House. Each committee comes back with a report to the House. When all these estimates come to the House, they are put together and referred to the finance committee.

“All these put together are transformed into the appropriation bill and Parliament passes it into law. So, the content of some of these things will require the Minister of Finance who has a deeper knowledge of it than other ministers from different sectors,” the former finance minister stressed.

Meanwhile, there’s been some skepticism as to who will be delivering the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy before Parliament later this week.

This is due to the absence of Ken Ofori-Atta who is currently in the United States, undergoing treatment for post-COVID-19 complications. His doctors have advised him to stay on for further observation and recovery, hence his inability to deliver the statement before the House on March 12, 2021. His vetting before the Appointments Committee of Parliament has also been rescheduled.

The Constitution allows the President to appoint a replacement to make the budget presentation on behalf of the absent Ofori-Atta. Initial news reports said the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, was in line to do the presentation.

On the heels of that, reports also emerged that the President had elected Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen to do the presentation.

But in the latest twist, reports say Minister For Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is set to deliver the presentation this coming Friday.

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