Finance Minister Designate Ken Ofori-Atta revealed during his vetting to resume his post as Finance Minister in front of Parliament’s Appointment Committee Thursday, March 25th that he does not take any salary or ‘per diem’ to serve as Finance Minister.
Essentially, Ofori-Atta, a well known ‘rich man’ before entering Akufo-Addo’s government, is telling us that he has the best interests of the nation at heart and that is demonstrated by not taking a salary and ‘per diem’ in his role because he clearly does not need the money.
“I suspect you know that the issue of public service is one that really has been with the family [Ofori-Atta family] for a long time and I came into it with that aspect. I do not take a salary, I do not take a per diem..,” he said.
Are we supposed to clap for him?
Salary is nothing, corruption is everything.
Whilst the Finance Minister and other Ministers make good money in their roles, especially in comparison to the poverty-stricken average Ghanaian, that salary is nothing compared to what they can make from just one corrupt deal.
The Agyapa Royalties deal for instance is worth 100,000 times whatever Ofori-Atta would make monthly as Finance Minister. A small cut, even 1% of that would be worth not taking any salary over 4 or 8 years as a minister.
And that’s just one example.
I have no evidence Ofori-Atta is corrupt and I’m not making that claim, but whenever politicians make such statements to curry public goodwill they must be treated with the contempt they deserve.
What’s the use to Ghanaians if you take no salary and do not do your job in a way that sets up an economy that works for all? What do we get if officially you make no money but unofficially things go down which deprive Ghanaians of the benefits of electing a government?
Donald Trump officially took no salary in his 4 years as U.S President. He also made hundreds of millions of dollars in corrupt deals involving his Trump businesses, money that dwarfs whatever the public would have paid him in those 4 years.
We’re not going to clap for Ken Ofori-Atta and we’re not going to assume he has clean motives just because he forgoes his salary. We would clap for Ofori-Atta only if government scraps their wicked new taxes and then use creative ways to raise revenue and stimulate the economy as they promised to do when in opposition.
Oh, and whilst at it we would appreciate it if they fought the canker of corruption and restore the faith of Ghanaians in our government.
I would not hold my breath for any of that to happen. But I’m also not going to give Ofori-Atta any credit for not taking a ‘meagre’ salary – that tells me nothing about his motives. A good economy, low taxes, reduced cost of living and an improved standard of living would tell me everything I need to know about his motives.