The Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said monetary compensation is not an innate objective of his coming into the public service.
He said he has never taken salaries and per diems since being appointed by President Akufo-Addo and as minister in 2017.
“I suspect you know that the issue of public service is one that really has been with the family for a long time, and I came into it with that aspect. I do not take a salary; I do not take a per diem. So those are not the objectives that I come with,” the nominee told members of the Appointments Committee on Thursday.
The minister-designate should have been vetted late last month but had to travel to the United States due to complications he suffered for his post-Covid-19 treatment, and managed to take his turn on Thursday.
Responding to a question posed by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, NDC MP for North Tongu, on whether he had interest in putting his close business associates at strategic areas of the country’s financial sector in order to have undue advantage, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the issue appeared to be more of ‘cynicism’ by some persons who believed that such was the situation for him to enrich himself.
He noted that Databank, a reputable financial institution formed by the minister and his partners many years ago, had produced many alumni in every part of the financial sector because of its operational longevity in Ghana.
“If you look outside the State, you will see that because of the 30 years in which the firm has run on values and skills, our alumni are everywhere in the banking and financial institutions of deep influence in what they do,” he stressed.
On the issue of public sector salary, the Minister-designate disclosed that the government would show fairness in negotiating with public sector workers on salary adjustments, adding that the government had already demonstrated good faith with workers thereby resulting in the peaceful labour environment in the country.
“We have had a relatively peaceful environment during this time because we (Finance and Labour Relations Ministries) have made a special effort to create a partnership with labour and employers, which enables information-sharing and an understanding of where we are going as a government. I think we have kept faith with that.
“I can assure you that we are clearly aware of the level of salaries that we have for our people, and we also know the impact on our revenue. By all means, we will strike a balance that is sustainable. Let me assure you that we will not compromise on fair negotiations,” he stated emphatically.
The minister-designate is a firm believer in the African identity and has always been pushing that with the right strategies, planning and equitable distribution of resources, the continent can see accelerated growth within a short time.
He is a passionate advocate of made-in-Ghana products, and as somebody who leads by example, he uses a Kantaka vehicle he personally purchased as his official vehicle.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House