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Ghana finance minister apologises for economic hardship

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Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana Minister of Finance

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on Friday said he was “truly sorry” for the country’s economic hardships but defended himself against accusations by lawmakers that he was unfit for the job.

Mr Ofori-Atta has been criticised for his handling of what has become Ghana’s worst economic crisis in a generation.
This came at a time when he was leading negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, IMF, for a relief package of up to 3 billion dollars.

The Ghanaian cedi has plummeted more than 40 per cent this year, straining importers of both raw and processed materials.

Meanwhile, consumer inflation hit a 21-year high of 40.4 per cent in October on the back of soaring import costs.

Against this backdrop, the embattled minister is facing censure with lawmakers from both major political parties calling for his removal from office.

However, Ofori-Atta defended himself against a raft of criticism in his first public comments on the matter.

Earlier, the parliament set up a committee to investigate opposition allegations that Ofori-Atta has been benefiting from Ghana’s economic woes through illegal payments and unethical contracts, among other charges.

The minister said he was concerned about the West African country’s woes, but added that the accusations were unfounded.

“The people of Ghana are enduring hardships. I feel the pain personally, professionally and in my soul,” Ofori-Atta said.

He said that by the end of the hearing, the “unfounded doubts about my motives, my competence and my character would have been dispelled.”

Reuters/NAN

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