If there is anybody in the government of President, John Dramani Mahama, who can talk his way out of any difficulty, then it is no other than our Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, but unfortunately, he cannot work his way out of problems, which is needed more in everybody worth his salt.
A brief background of the man, will help put things in their proper perspective.
In the early days of ex-President, Jerry John Rawlings, Ghana joined the Briton Wood Institutions i.e. the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank; proponents of socialist credential have always attributed our current economic problems to our joining the IMF and the World Bank, they argue that all the programmes they have shoved down our throat, have rather succeeded in impoverishing us.
Why all these, it is to help us understand why Seth Terkper is failing in his quest to put this economy on any sound footing.
Seth Terkper is an IMF trained technocrat, so everything he knows and can do, he learnt from them, it is no wonder why all he has succeeded in doing is imposing taxes upon taxes on Ghanaians.
Information making the rounds is that his job at the IMF, is waiting for him, he took a long leave of absence and so he has nothing to lose, should the National Democratic Congress (NDC), lose the 2016 elections, my advice to him before he leads all of us to the slaughter house is for him to go back to the IMF.
My father once told me that a chick does not forget who pruned its feathers during the rainy season, and so it is pretty obvious that Seth Terkper instead of serving his country is rather doing the bidding of his masters.
On Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo” Morning Show, Kwame Sefa Kayi asked our Honourable Minister how he felt being somewhat the president’s darling boy; his answer was “it raises the bar”.
Interesting Mr. Minister, the President has raised the bar for you to comfortable walk under the bar.
Back in the days, when we were in the Secondary School, during interco, athletes who take part in the High Jump, make a lot of comic acts, anytime a bar is raised high, when they can’t jump it, they just walk under it. The Minister is telling us that the President has made his work easy; he is going to walk under the bar with ease now, not jump and score marks.
Seth Terkper’s appointment was well received by Ghanaians from all walks of life and different occupation, we all hailed President Mahama for elevating him from a position of Deputy Minister to a substantive Minister, but our joy was short lived, because it is always easy to walk in somebody’s shadow, when that person moves and you are exposed you need to chart your own path and he has failed in that quest.
History will judge the President, whether it was the right decision for him to elevate Seth Terkper and still keep him at post, despite all the calls even from Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ministers of State for him to fire him. He can’t certainly be the only person who is fit and qualified to run the Ministry?
Our people have a saying that when you prepare a bitter concoction, you will taste some, the President who appointed him, has virtually taken over the job of the Finance Minister, instead of concentrating on equally pressing needs, he now has to be answering to why the economy is not working well and what his government is doing and how soon hope will arrive.
Organized labour has embarked on demonstration to register their protest at the high cost of living, the continuous fall of the cedis, the continuous rise of the US dollar and other international currencies, which is affecting the price of petroleum products, as well as goods and services; this is not a record any President will be proud of.
Ghanaians voted for the President to Manage the economy to solve problems, not to create them and his biggest problem is Seth Terkper.
Yesterday, it was reported that the President, met the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Economy at the Peduase Lodge, to find quick-fix solutions to Ghana’s ailing economy.
Prior to this, a two-day national forum on the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) on the theme, “Building national consensus for sustainability of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP)”, was held in Ho from August 6 to 7, 2013.
A three-day National Economic Forum known as the Senchi Consesus was organized in May 2014, all these was to help Mr. Terkper to steer the economy to safety. If every Ministry, will be subjected to these sort of forums and consensus, how much will be left in the national kitty to run the economy?
If I know one thing, it is that Mr. Terkper is not fit to run the Ministry of Finance.
The President, will in the coming days be leaving for China, to negotiate for the release of the China Development Bank (CDB), syndicated loan, which has been reviewed down from the initial US$3 billion to US$1.5 billion.
The recent decision to scale the amount down is indication of Seth Terkpers lackluster approach to serious international loan arrangements. There are reports of how he single-handedly tried to get access to the same loan, but failed. The technocrats who were to go with him to negotiate for the money were left here in Ghana.
Insiders have even said that Mr. Terkper has his wife and children living comfortably in the US, hence not feeling the pain and suffering the average Ghanaian, who have had to experience the rise in the prices of the goods and services on daily basis. He spends the least of his holidays including Christmas in the US.
Information available to us is that even before Mona Quartey was appointed a deputy Minister of Finance, she secured a GH¢500 Million loan from an international institution, regrettably, Seth Terkper has been there and was denied.
I am still using my tongue to count my teeth, as to why President Mahama, who is seen more as being proactive, is still keeping someone as reactive as Seth Terkper.
All the times that the President has directed and ordered, it was to the Finance Minister to release funds for something to be executed. It took the President to order the Finance Minister before he released statutory funds that have been established by law.
Perhaps Baba Jamal, the NDC MP for Akwatia, gave us a clue when he talked about Mr. Terkper’s poor human relations, but we ignored him.
There are reports of how the Ministry of Finance has lost all of its institutional memories, having gotten rid of all the people with long-standing service and experience far away from the Ministry.
Last week, there were media reports about the unhealthy and unfortunate incidents, involving the Finance Minster and Dr. Nii Moi Thompson,
regarding Dr. Thompson apparent disagreement in the policies Seth Terkper, had introduced and was about to in the Mid Year Budget Review. A near fight is said to have occurred in the presence of President Mahama.
Parliament and MDAs, have not been paid for items or services procured as far back as 2012 with the excuse of “no cash” which was later changed to GIFMIX computerized programme, which is supposed to drop money in your account automatically based on records of what you’re owed by government institutions.
As an optimist, I try most possible not to sound as a pessimist or an alarmist, but the situations on the ground is proving me otherwise.
The problems are visible everywhere you turn your face, needless to start listing them here again. We need to speedily intervene in bringing back hope and life into this economy whose collapse is imminent.
The good people of this great nation want you Mr. President, especially the unfortunate lot, who have been at the receiving end of Seth Terkper’s directionless policies, to please sack the man, before we all fall into the abyss that he is struggling to dig with his ego and lack of team spirit.
More to come!