President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sworn in Mr Ken Ofori-Atta as the Finance Minister and reminded him of Ghanaians' expectation of him to put the economy back on sound footing, out of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President administered the Oaths of Allegiance, Office and Secrecy after which the minister signed the oath book, which was sealed off with the signature of the President..
The President referred to the Finance Minister as the “Last man standing.”
Today's event means that President Akufo-Addo has completed the constitution of the government of his second term, having earlier sworn into office 29 substantive ministers and 16 regional ministers.
He thanked Parliament for the bipartisan manner they approved the ministers, saying “I'm grateful to the House for giving me a good birthday present with the approval of the Minister designate for Finance on my birthday yesterday”.
President Akufo-Addo assured Mr Ofori-Atta that he was looking forward to working with him over the next four years to protect their progress and transform the country to the benefit of all.
He said in spite of the pandemic, the economy was one of the few in the world that recorded positive growth for last year and that ultimately what the people of Ghana were expecting was a visible improvement in their standard of living.
That, the President explained, included an increase in real wages for working people, enhancement of incomes of farmers and fisher folk and a rise in profits for businesses.
“So talk of good macroeconomic management, fiscal responsibility and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has to reflect that goal if the talk is to be meaningful,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He urged Mr Ofori-Atta to provide leadership that would ensure that the work they had embarked on led to the progress of the nation and helped to raise the income level of the people.
Touching on the vetting, President Akufo-Addo said Mr Ofori-Atta created history by becoming the first minister in the country's history to be vetted for two consecutive days and he acquitted himself honourably.
“Everyone who watched him on national television at the committee hearings can understand why I had little choice, but to re-nominate him to serve another four years as Minister of Finance,” the President explained.
He said that was why, by the grace of God, he would be, at the end of his second and final term of office, the longest-serving Finance Minister in the history of the Fourth Republic.
President Akufo-Addo said during the vetting, Mr Ofori-Atta provided a staunch defence of his record in office as Finance Minister from February 17, 2017 when he inherited a weak, faltering economy from the Mahama administration, and helped nurse the economy back to good health by January 6, this year.
Surreal 125 days
Mr Ofori-Atta, spotting his trademark all-white outfit, said the last 125 days had been surreal for him as he contracted COVID-19 in November last year and expressed his gratitude to God for His healing grace and the prayers from all around the country.
The finance minister also thanked the President for the confidence he had reposed in him to be with him for the next four years. He also commended Parliament for his approval.
He said the resilience of the country and its people coupled with the remarkable leadership of President Akufo-Addo enabled the country to weather the pandemic storm better than Ghana's peers.
Mr Ofori-Atta admitted that Ghana could not have done that without the support of its domestic and foreign partners.
He again expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders for their support towards the journey to build a “Ghana Beyond Aid”.