Head of Financial Advisory at Deloitte Ghana Yaw Appiah-Lartey has stated that approval of the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is not surprising since he was able to prove to the appointments committee that he is worth the position.
In an interview with JoyNews, monitored by GhanaWeb, Mr Larety said the Minister was able to respond to various questions asked him concerning the Agyapa deal and others, where he was able to provide solid documents that support his claims.
“To be fair the Minister of Finance has gone through a lot to get to this point, so some of the questions that were asked are not surprising. We expected them to be asked covering the financial cleanup, all the issues around Agyapa, taxes and contracts that have been awarded related parties or related entities. For the first time, we have a minister who was vetted in two days, a lot has gone in and I guess the minister also provided some necessary documents to allow for some form of consensus-building ahead of the final approval today,” he said.
Speaking on his expectation in the next four years with Ken Ofori-Atta as the sector Minister, Mr. Lartey stated that, government needs to take some hard decision to help economic rebound due to the severe impact of COVID-19 on the national purse.
“If you look at the target that has been set by government, as we look at the main target or the major macro-economic indicators, we are looking going to a deficit of less than 5% which the law mandates us to get to by the end of 2024…So we are not even seeing the deficit going below the physical responsibility gap of 5% anytime soon. So that is the difficult one particularly in the year 2021 where we are in now, we expect to end the year at a deficit of 9.5% [but] that is not too ambitious,” he said.
He further noted that “there is going to increase in the price of goods and services and if we are not careful some unintended consequences will arise. We have also had instances where some taxes have been introduced particularly for the banking sector, where we are having profit before tax increase by 5 percentage points, the national stabilization levy of five per cent so we have the banking community also complaining about that…So I know that is not going to be a smooth year, like the minister himself rightly said, if you are a finance minister and you are liked by the people then you are probably not doing your work. So we expect the minister to take the hard decisions.”
The economist, however, noted that government needs to pay attention to the banking sector since the country has signed on to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).