By Maxwell Ofori, Flagstaff House Accra
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday made public, the first batch of ministerial appointees to serve in his administration.
At a press conference at the Flagstaff House, the President recommended 13 names to the Legislature to consider for appointments to specific ministries, as he gets ready to hit the ground running.
Presenting the names, Nana Akufo-Addo called on Parliament to look at the state of the country’s economy and expedite action on the nominees, so that if approved, they could proceed with serious business.
The first on the list of 13, out of which 12 were present, was Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, who is nominated as Senior Minister.
Yaw Osafo-Maafo is 75 years old, and has had an exemplary career as a banker, consultant, politician and a statesman. Yaw Osafo-Maafo was a Member of Parliament for Akyem Oda Constituency for three terms, and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning for four years, from 2001-2005, a period which saw the dramatic turnaround of the Ghanaian economy.
His achievements were recognised internationally in 2001, when he was adjudged the best Finance Minister of the year in Africa by the Banker Magazine, a Financial Times Publication. Along with the Finance Minister of Canada, he was also named the Finance Minister of the Year in November 2001 by the World Economic Forum in Davos.
He served as Minister for Education and Sports from 2005 to 2006, a period which saw the implementation of significant reforms in education and sports sectors, including the introduction of the Capitation Grant. Ghana, for the first time, qualified for the World Cup following the reforms under his leadership. He is currently the Co-Chairman of the Transition Team, representing His Excellency the President, for the newly-elected Government of Ghana.
He is married with four Children.
Second on the list was Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah, who has been designated as Minister to the National Security. The President believed that the ministry need a very competent person who has was abreast with the happenings in the country, as far as the security of the nation is concerned. Mr Albert Kan Dapaah is a Chartered Accountant by profession and a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana.
He was a former partner in the international accounting firm, Pannell Kerr Forster. He worked in the Electricity Company of Ghana as the Director of Finance for six years, before entering the Parliament of Ghana in January 1997. He was the Minority Spokesman on Mines and Energy, from 1997 to 2000. In 2001, he joined the government of President Kufuor and served in the Ministries of Energy, Communications, Interior and Defence, between 2001 and 2008.
Meanwhile, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng, nominee for the Trade and Industry Ministry, was not present at the time of the official pronouncement. He is expected, pending Parliamentary approval, to make sure the ‘One District One Factory’ policy is manifested. Mr. Kyerematen has an extensive and a distinguished record in international development and public policy, trade and enterprise development, politics and diplomacy. As an Economist, a Lawyer and a Management Consultant, his previous appointments, including Cabinet Minister of Trade, Industry and
Presidential Special Initiatives of Ghana; Ambassador of Ghana to the United States of America, gave the President the conviction of his capabilities amongst others.
Again, with the current state of the country’s economy, where the debt to GDP is around 72%, the nomination of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta for the position of the Finance Minister, the President assured, would bring back the strength of the economy.
Ken was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley and Salomon Brothers on Wall Street in New York, before co-founding the Databank Group (an investment banking firm) in Ghana. He was the Executive Chairman from 1990 until his retirement on February 14, 2012. Ken has been Chairman and Board Member of the following corporates: Family Ventures and Offices in Ghana; Chairman of Trust Bank Ltd in The Gambia; International Bank of Liberia, Bank of Kigali in Rwanda, Enterprise Life in Ghana, and pan-African Databank AgriFund for SME Agribusiness with investments in Madagascar, Cameroun, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
The President continued that the agriculture sector needed a boost to ensure there was adequate food for the people of Ghana, to reduce how much food is imported into the country. Having said that, Nana Addo named Dr Akoto Owusu Afriyie, who was the New Patriotic Party’s Spokesperson on Agriculture, as the Minister designate for food and agriculture.
He worked as an Economist, Senior Economist, Principal Economist, and Chief Economic Advisor over a period of 18 years at the International Coffee Organization (ICO), London, England. He also worked as a consultant to the World Bank, United Nations on Soft Commodities (Cocoa, Coffee, Sugar).
From 1995 to 2008, he was the CEO of Goldcrest Commodities Limited, and the CEO of Plantation Resources Limited. He is a two-term Member of Parliament for Kwadaso, and, whilst in Parliament, from 2009 to 2012, was the Deputy Ranking Member for Committee on Food and Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs. He became the Ranking Member for the Committee on Food and Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs from 2013 to 2017.
Mr Boakye Agyarko, being nominated as the Energy, Power and Petroleum Minister, has the task to ensure Dum-so never comes back in the history of the country. He is to make sure there is power to feed the national grid to produce energy, which will help industries to develop. Boakye Agyarko is 60 years old. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon; an Advanced Professional Certificate in Banking from the American Institute of Banking and an MBA in Financial Economics from the Pace University, New York.
He held a Vice President position at the Bank of New York, in New York, and in over 20 years at the bank, worked at senior levels in various departments, including Operations Management and Analysis, Product Development, Global Network Managements, International Banking and Asset Management and the Y2K Management Group. His responsibilities in these various departments and positions included international trade finance, loan syndications, asset securitization and structured finance.
Dominic Ntiwul and Ambrose Deryare, ministers-designate for Defence and Interior respectively. The former, while studying in Germany, obtained two certificates in Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management from the International Academy for Leadership in 2003 and 2005. With Mr Dery, he graduated from the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1980, with an LLB (Hons) and was called to the Bar in 1982.
He was deputy Attorney General under President Kufuor, from 2003 to 2004, and then appointed Upper West Regional Minister from 2005 to 2007.
In the last NPP administration, under President Kufuor, Mrs Ayorkor Botchway, who has been nominated as the Foreign Affairs Minister, served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister for Information, and Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry.Between 2009 and 2013, she served as Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs, and was also the party’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.
That notwithstanding, Mrs Gloria Akuffo, being designated for the position of the Attorney General, is expected to handle all cases surrounding the government, especially, those that have to do with judgement debts.From 2001 to 2004, she served as the first female Deputy Attorney-General of Ghana, the first two years of which were under the Attorney General of the time, Nana Akufo-Addo. She was appointed the first female Deputy Greater-Accra Regional Minister in 2005. In 2006, she set up a Ministry of Aviation, having been appointed the first Minister for the sector. She is a Private Legal Practitioner and an Arbitrator.
Hajia Halima Mahama, after Parliamentary endorsement, would be the Local Government Minister, to ensure the manifestation of the NPP government policy for the sector. Between 2001 and 2008, she served in the government of John Agyekum Kufuor, firstly, as the Minister for Women and Children Affairs; Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry; and Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development. In the latter appointment, she directed and coordinated the development of the comprehensive policy and plan of action on decentralisation for Ghana, and was responsible for the World Bank supported Urban Infrastructure Development Programme.
However, with the free Senior High Secondary policy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister-designate, Education, according to the President, is to work to ensure it came to pass. Dr. Prempeh worked as a Medical Doctor in Ghana and United Kingdom. He is a Surgeon and a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of the United Kingdom, but is now tasked to be at the Education Ministry.
Last, but not the least, in the second batch of ministers was Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who was designated the Minister of Health.
From 1990 to 1994 he was an accountant at Mim Timber Company Limited, and was the Director of Finance at Toyota Ghana Limited. Under the government of President Kufuor, he served in various ministries as a Deputy Minister of State – Trade and Industry, Interior, Finance, Communications, and Roads and Transport. He has served on the boards of institutions such as the Small Arms Commission of Ghana, the Ghana Revenue Authority, Bank of Ghana, and the Divestiture Implementation Committee. He was also the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority in 2006.