Saturday, 15 June

Economic Advisory Board: I resigned because my views were not sought – Adei

Steohen Adei

Economist and former Board Chairman for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Prof Stephen Adei has revealed he had to resign on principle from the advisory board of the Ministry of Finance because his views on the economy were not sought.

According to him, he was appointed to the advisory board of the ministry during the administration of late president John Evans Atta-Mills.

He said since then he had been playing an advisory role for the ministry.

He added that the position was just advisory and as and when the minister deemed it appropriate “you are called to proffer a piece of advice.”

The economist and former rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) made this disclosure about his role in government while speaking in an interview on Accra-based Citi FM’s eyewitness news on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

He explained he had to resign from the position because, for the past year, his views on the management of the economy were not sought.

“I didn’t want to be seen as ‘Simpapayin’,” he said; to wit he did not want to be seen as useless on the advisory board.

He said he did this in the interest of serving the nation.

He revealed that the only time his views were sought “was when the government was about implementing the Free SHS policy and I gladly gave it out.” 

“As board chairman of GRA, I never took a dime but I worked diligently for GRA to meet its revenue targets.

''With this, many saw me as being in government when I was not in government but only working for the good of the country,” he corrected.

“Even as the chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), I prepared a document dubbed Ghana@100 and wanted the buy-in of the government. To date the government is not meeting me,” he said. 

Speaking on the economic downturn in a separate interview earlier, Prof Stephen Adei had said over borrowing is one of the biggest mistakes of the Akufo-Addo government.

The former board chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) told journalists on the sidelines of the Signature Market Pre-launch campaign at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, that excessive borrowing has exacerbated the economic crisis.

“I think the biggest mistake they [government] made is that they borrowed beyond our capacity to service it.

"If you are a country and you borrow beyond your capacity, you will be in trouble, of course, COVID-19 came in, and the Russia-Ukraine [war, too],” he stated.

“But the reason why things got worse is because of these underlying mistakes they made and they must admit it", Prof Adei explained.

He added: "If not, they won’t be going to IMF.

"If you are a government and you go broke you re-negotiate with your debtors. I think the debt restructuring will go through”.

“We have to learn and not repeat our mistakes by going on a borrowing spree", he advised, noting: "We should become watchdogs".

"The leakages should be reduced, the level of corruption, the wastage from the government after government is high, so, we don’t get value for money,” he stated.

Source: Mensah