The Dean of the School of Business at the University of Cape Coast, Prof. John Gatsi, has clarified that the indisposition of Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta, does not stop the government from presenting the budget.
According to him, the Constitution is clear that any other Minister, apart from the Finance Minister, can present the budget.
It is only the implementation of same that the Constitution specifically tasks to the Finance Minister.
He points out that Article 179 of the Constitution mandates the president to cause the preparation and presentation of the budget to parliament. So long as the budgetary processes including cabinet approval have been followed, any appointee of the president may present to parliament when ordered by the president.
The practice of having the Finance Minister present the budget and financial statement, he said, is just a convention.
Trade Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten, is said to have been settled on by President Akufo-Addo to present the 2021 Budget. This is because Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta is receiving treatment for COVID-19 related complications in the US.
Mr. Ofori-Atta and other members of Akufo-Addo’s close circle of family and friends had caught the virus while chilling at a victory party that was thrown for the President by a brother of his, while the 2020 election results were in dispute, as part of psychological warfare.
In the circumstances, Ghanaians who have only been used to having a Finance Minister present the budget over the years were wondering what the indisposition of Ofori-Atta means for the 2021 budget.
Prof. Gatsi said an appointee chosen by the President can present the budget. However, he said, it is only the Finance Minister who can implement after the budget has been presented.
This is because, constitutionally, the implementer of the public financial management act is the finance minister.
The finance minister, he pointed out, is also the implementer of both the public procurement policy, the procurement act and the petroleum revenue management act and is at the apex of the financial market regulatory hierarchy.