Sunday, 23 June

Ato Forson ‘our best’ economist to lead debates in parliament – Asiedu Nketia

Dr Cassiel Ato Forson

Dr Cassiel Ato Forson is the “best” economist the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has to lead economic debates in parliament, thus, his selection as the next minority leader, the Chairman of the biggest opposition party has said.

According to Mr Jonson Asiedu Nketia, the 2024 polls will be centred on the economy, energy and infrastructure, thus, the need to put the party's best men in those sectors in strategic leadership positions in parliament.

A letter to the Speaker of Parliament to that effect signed by General Secretary Fifi Kwetey announced Dr Cassiel Ato Forson as the new Minority Leader.

This means Mr Haruna Iddrisu is no more the leader of the caucus in parliament.

Dr Forson is to be assisted by Mr Emmanual Armah Kofi Buah as Deputy Minority Leader.

The former Minister of Petroleum replaces Mr James Klutse Avedzi, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

The statement named a new Minority Chief Whip in the person of Mr Kwame Agbodza, who replaces Mr Muntaka Mubarak.

The First Deputy Whip remains Mr Ibrahim Ahmed and the Second Deputy Whip remains Comfort Doyoe Ghansah.

The statement said the “new leadership would be charged to recommend consequential changes in the Ranking membership to the headquarters of the party for approval”.

Explaining the reasoning that went into the changes, Mr Nketia told the media in an interview that it is part of the party’s reorganisation process ahead of the 2024 polls.

“We started re-organisation of our structures to be able to position ourselves to fight election 2024. We started more than a year ago. We started at the branch level. We have since done elections in about 40,000 branches and then from there we proceeded to the constituency level. We are done largely with all the constituencies. We have done regional elections and we just completed our national election, and the next is to look at our leadership in parliament. That is what we have just done”, he noted.

In terms of the timing, he said: “It’s in line with the way we are prosecuting the national reorganization. In terms of why? What it tells you is that the only constant thing is change”, adding: “Since the environment is changing, leadership must change along”.

Explaining what he meant by ‘environment’, he said: “We know, for instance, that going into election 2024, the economy is going to be the major battleground and, so, many of the debates will focus on the economy. So, you better put your best man in economy forward. That is what we have done”.

“We also looked at energy. You know the petroleum and electricity challenges, so, we needed to settle on Kofi Armah Buah, our former minister to be the Deputy Minority Leader.

“The other area is infrastructure; Kwame Agbodza being our man in infrastructure should play a key role. That, generally, is what informed the changes”, Mr Nketia pointed out.

A few things to know about the new minority leader: 

1. Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson is an Oxford-trained Ghanaian MP who is in his fourth term and a highly accomplished professional with over two decades of experience.

2. He has a PhD in Finance from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), a Master of Science in Taxation from the University of Oxford, UK, a Master of Science degree in Economics also from KNUST, and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from London South Bank University.

3. Dr. Forson is also a chartered accountant and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana.

4. His professional career has been marked by influential roles in Ghana’s public sector, including as Deputy Minister for Finance from April 2013 to January 2017, a member of Ghana’s Economic Management Team, a Board Director of the Bank of Ghana, a Board member of Ghana Cocoa Board, and Ghana’s Alternate Governor at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

5. His expertise was also brought to light when he chaired the Committee that implemented the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System Reforms (GIFMIS).

6. In 2008, he was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Constituency. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to better the lives of his constituents.

7. He has championed many initiatives related to quality education, health care, job creation, and poverty alleviation.

8. As ranking member on the finance committee, he led many crusades to protect the public purse including the rejection of the obnoxious electronic transactions levy and the infamous Agyapa deal.

9. Throughout his career, Cassiel Ato Forson has been a strong advocate of good governance, transparency, and accountability.

10. He is widely respected in the Central Region and across Ghana for his dedication to the service of his country and his constituents.