Let’s make our laws dynamic to address current challenges – Prof. Lord Mensah on appointment of Finance Minister

Let’s make our laws dynamic to address current challenges – Prof. Lord Mensah on appointment of Finance Minister

Economist at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Lord Mensah, has called for a review of some of Ghana’s laws to make them more dynamic and flexible in order for them to be applicable as time changes and new challenges come up.

He was speaking in relation to the country’s laws on the appointment of a Finance Minister.

According to him, the laws on the appointment of a Finance Minister does not satisfactorily address the current challenges that face the country when it comes to appointing one, particularly challenges with conflict of interest.

He said, “Our laws are so fixed to the extent that when things change, we’re not able to act in a way to reflect what is on the ground.”

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile Saturday, he mentioned that the mere fact that Ken Ofori-Atta is an owner and at one point a manager of a financial institution in the country which did direct business with the government should have disqualified him for the position of Finance Minister.

This he said is due to the fact that Ofori-Atta’s strong relationship with Databank as well as his interest in the bank compromises his position as an objective Finance Minister and raises questions about conflict of interest.

“Now if you look at what is happeneing on the ground, Ken [Ofori-Atta] was an owner and at a point the same as a manager, which in the literature we normally call it owner-manager.

“So then when he became a Finance Minister he says fine, I’m no more a manager again but I mean the ownership is still in there. And even if it’s not a direct ownership, there’s a history, an attachment to that company,” he said.

According to Professor Mensah, an easy solution to this problem is to avoid appointing individuals with interests in Ghana’s financial space to the position of Finance Minister.

He added that, “you know how we had problems with our banks. The banks at a point in time, every bank that you pick in this country you would get a board member who has worked at Bank of Ghana before so any ex-Bank of Ghana official who has a strong tie with the bank can effectively help to in a way maneuver or have access to funds that supposedly the banks are not supposed to have. So effectively we have problems as far as our constitution is concerned and how we appoint [Finance Ministers].

“The constitution has been made in such a way that there is a kind of belief that puts all Ghanaians to behave rationally and I can tell you that as far as human beings are concerned you always get the irrational ones. So in order to avoid some of these things, I would have looked at it this way, let’s not appoint any Finance Minister who has worked with a bank before, who has interest in a financial space – be it historically or currently.”

SOURCE:Cornerlis Kwaku Affre

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