The President’s nominee for the Deputy Minister of Finance portfolio, Mrs Mona Helen Kabuki Quartey, last Friday showed that she meant business when she renounced her United States citizenship so as to take up the appointment.
Although her document submitted to the Appointments Committee of Parliament showed that she had successfully renounced her US citizenship just a day earlier on Thursday, July 10, her swift responses indicated that she was ready to take up the post.
Mrs Quartey explained that she proceeded to renounce her US citizenship right after President John Mahama had told her of the nomination days earlier, but that the processes were completed on July 10, 2014.
Answering questions on controversial issues relating to Ghana’s economy to the admiration of the committee members, she said it was not illegal to transport US$3 million to the Black Stars in Brazil, if it was covered by a certificate.
Asked by Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, whether it was good to do propaganda with the economy, Mrs Quartey replied, “Politics should be about speaking the truth. It is about the people, not about political parties all the time. There is nothing about the economy that we have to play politics with.”
On the weakening local currency, she said Ghana would gain more revenue if it exported more. “We should look at value additions in the agriculture, oil and gas industries to gain more revenue and not import things we should be able to do ourselves,” he recommended, adding that the term excessive borrowing was relative. Mrs Quartey added: “We borrow to invest in projects for our people. It would assist us to borrow prudently so we are able to pay.”
Redenomination, mining and VAT
Asked by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, for her view on the redenomination of the cedi in 2007 by then Bank of Ghana Governor Dr Paul Acquah, she said quoting of big figures then was not helpful and believed the governor knew what was best for Ghana at the time.
Promising to help promote the local content policy in any contract signed, Mrs Quartey urged the government to assist mining companies to gain more from their operations, as they were in a high-risk venture.
“For instance, the cost of producing an ounce of gold which was $180 is now between $800 and $1000. We should look at supporting mining companies.” She also proposed formalising the operations of ‘galamsey’ miners so they do not destroy the environment and could also be taxed.
Responding to a question on the newly introduced Value Added Tax on core non-banking services, the Deputy Minister of Finance designate said in her view, Ghanaians were not being over-taxed because the amount charged was negligible on small transactions.