Financial analyst, Sydney Casely Hayford believes that deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng was unprepared for Parliament’s queries on the Independence Anniversary celebrations, thus providing unsatisfactory answers.
Kwaku Kwarteng had revealed in Parliament that government had allocated over 3 million cedis from its coffers, with an additional allocation of over 2 million cedis from the District Assembly Common Fund to the committee for the celebrations despite the Presidentdent having said previously the celebrations would be privately funded.
However, this was denied by the Chairman of the ‘Ghana 60 years on‘ Committee, Ken Amankwah, who said that the 5.26 million was spent on the Independence Day events and not Ghana@60 events.
According to Mr Casely-Hayford, the question from the North Tongu Member of Parliament, Okudzeto Ablakwa on why state money was used to finance the celebration was valid and that the seemingly ill-prepared Kwaku Kwarteng had not delivered convincing responses.
Speaking on Citi FM‘s news analysis programme The Big Issue, Casely Hayford said: “I think Okudzeto Ablakwa was right in asking the question he did. This is what you said and yet we’re hearing something different. Unfortunately on the day the deputy Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng wasn’t ready and adequately prepared for the question and therefore he came across as rather porous.”
“I think in so many ways he goofed because he took his eye off the ball and didn’t have enough facts to be able to answer back when he was asked. But these are the learning grounds and Ministers have to be a little sharper in order for us to get where we want to go.”
He believes that the Ministers need to be better prepared given the increased vigilance of the populace with the growing influence of new media and greater scrutiny from the opposition.
“I think they sometimes forget that we are in the age of citizen journalism and those of us outside tend to have a lot more information and a lot more insight. We are able to exchange views and ideas with fellow citizens much easier and much quicker so we get on top of issues very quickly,” he added.
“Also the ‘babies with sharp teeth’ have had some time to sharpen their teeth even better so they are coming back at the government with more specific questions than necessary. It’s a hard task when you are asked such detailed questions and you haven’t got a piece of paper in front of you to be able to address all of them. ”
This isn’t the first time a government appointee under the current administration has been accused of being unprepared when they appeared before Parliament.
The Member of Parliament for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh Chireh suggested earlier this month that the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu was unprepared when he appeared before Parliament on Thursday to respond to questions on the debt at the National Health Insurance Scheme.
According to Mr. Yieleh-Chireh, the Minister did not make an attempt acquire the data required to answer the question despite the fact that the said request had been made two weeks prior to the encounter.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, the former Health Minister stated that the current Minister’s unpreparedness led to a number of evasive answers when he addressed the House.
“My question to the Minister was for him to tell Ghanaians about what the government has done about outstanding payments to service providers. If he was prepared to answer the questions which it appeared he wasn’t he’d have told us the amount outstanding, the amount paid so far and what’s left. He didn’t any of this at all. The purpose was to get information,” he said.
“I don’t expect a Minister to have all this information in his head but this question was posed about two weeks ago. He could have asked the agencies responsible, to provide up-to-the-minute data on how much NHIS had paid to service providers.”