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Ghana's Finance Minister escapes vote of no confidence

Ghana's Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta speaks during the G-24 news conference at ...   -  
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Jose Luis Magana/AP


Ghana's Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta escaped a vote of no confidence in parliament Thursday (November 8) after ruling party lawmakers pulled out of a vote on his handling of the country's economic crisis.

President Nana Akufo-Addo's government is currently under pressure as it negotiates up to $3 billion in bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Opposition lawmakers in parliament - divided between the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) - were seeking to oust the finance minister over a series of allegations.

According to House Speaker Alban Bagbin, the opposition minority voted 136 votes in favour of censure on Thursday, meaning it did not reach the two-thirds majority required to oust the minister.

Majority NPP lawmakers had walked out before the vote.

President Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians to support his efforts to manage the crisis as inflation has reached 40% and the national currency, the cedi, has devalued by more than 50% against the dollar.

Ghana is a major producer of cocoa and gold and has oil and gas reserves, but its debt service payments have soared. And like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, it has been hit hard by the consequences of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

An IMF team is currently in Ghana negotiating the terms of a loan agreement.

Opposition lawmakers had questioned the finance minister over allegations of misappropriation of public funds and "alarming incompetence and ineptitude that led to the collapse of the Ghanaian economy.

Last month the minister denied any wrongdoing in parliament, but he also apologized to Ghanaians for the hardships they were facing.

The president has the final say in removing a minister from office.

Last month, Akufo-Addo fired Finance Secretary Charles Adu Boahen after allegations of corruption.

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