March 19, 2018

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A broke gov’t cannot be prudent in managing economy- Minority Leader

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has said the government cannot use the cut in expenditure as evidence of its prudent management of the economy.

A government that cannot meet its revenue target is simply broke and does not have money to spend, he suggested.

“They were not spending because they did not have money..” he said adding, they shouldn’t come and tell us they are financially prudent in managing the economy.

He was responding to the mid-year budget review presented by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta on Monday.

Mr Ofori-Atta presented what he said was an economy beginning to take shape with growth figures as well as other macro-economic figures pointing in the right direction.

According to him, updated figures received from the Ghana Statistical Service in April 2017 were worse than originally reported in the March 2, 2017 budget.

“Mr. Speaker, on the fiscal front, updated information shows that the end-2016 fiscal deficit was worse than previously estimated, at 9.3 percent of GDP compared to the provisional figure of 8.7 percent of GDP on cash basis at the time of presenting the 2017 Budget. The deficit on commitment basis is now at 10.9 percent of GDP up from the 10.3 percent previously reported,” he stated.

The minister said the accumulated debt over the eight year period of the erstwhile NDC had grown by about 1,054% rising from 9.5 billion cedis in 2008 to 122 billion cedis in 2016.

Even though the 2017 budget presented in March 2, 2017, captured a 3.6% growth rate, the Minister said updated figures showed the economy grew at 3.5% of GDP instead.

According to him the fiscal deficit which was reported to be 8.7% at the end of December 2016, was actually 9.3% of GDP.

Despite the alarming figures, he said the Akufo-Addo led government is undaunted and is putting better economic policies in place to change the situation.

He said the shift from taxation to production and the prudent financial management are beginning to show in the macro-economic indicators.

“Mr. Speaker, we promised to stabilize the economy in a sustainable manner, while accelerating growth and creating prosperity and jobs for all. The macro-fiscal performance we have achieved in the first six months of President Akufo-Addo’s administration is showing remarkable progress. The major macroeconomic indicators are now trending in the right direction indicating that the economy is on track,” he said.

He however admitted that the government failed to meet its revenue target but to ensure stability it had to reduce expenditure.

He promised better economic turnover by December 2017.

But his figures and procedure used in presenting the review have been challenged by the Minority.

The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told Joy News’ Evans Mensah, the Minister ought to have come by a motion instead of a common statement he presented on the floor.

He said if he had come by a motion, a number of issues raised in the review would have been debated on the floor.

Simply coming with a statement was not good enough, he pointed out, and challenged the authority by the Minister to, without any request for approval, revise some of the macro economic targets.

“Revenue is not performing and that is affecting expenditure,” he stated and demanded where the one million one constituency cash was.

He also demanded why the free SHS policy has now been limited to only first years instead of the all students in the SHS level.

“What happened to teacher training allowances?” he asked, adding, the planting for food is now planting for army worms.

“There is zero expenditure on social intervention by the government,” he stated.


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