The embattled Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terpker, has given a tacit indication that what many Ghanaians now describe as ‘the wanton dissipation’ of the nation’s resources in Election year 2012, which many economic and financial analysts agree led to the unprecedented budget deficit of GH¢8.7 billion, and subsequently led to the current economic mess in which the nation finds itself, cannot be blamed on Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, who was the Finance Minister at the time those expenditures were made.
“Nowhere had the Ministry stated or suggested that the overruns were the result of ‘negligence and bad economic management practices Dr. Duffuor administered during his era at the helm of the Finance Ministry’, as alleged by the New Statesman, a rejoinder from the Finance Ministry stated.
The Minister was reacting to our lead story of Wednesday, May 21, 2014, carried under the headline “SETH TERKPER WANTS DUFFUOR ARRESTED.”
The story quoted sources close to the Minister who had had told the paper Mr. Terkper was putting pressure on the government to arrest his former boss for being responsible for the economic mess the nation is currently experiencing.
But a rejoinder to the story, signed by Major (rtd) M. S. Tara, Chief Director of the Ministry, claimed “the allegations attributed to the Hon Seth Terkper were not only false but calculated to tarnish the image of the Hon Minister, the Presiency and to create enmity between him and Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.”
The story had indicated that documents available to the paper show that in the least three months of 2012 alone, the Finance Ministry supervised the dissipation of GH¢500 million on dodgy payments to companies and institutions, all aimed at ensuring the NDC retained power.
But another rejoinder from the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry claimed that “all payments/releases of funds were done within the confines of rules and regulations covering the release of funds to MDAs.”
“The Ministry had always stated that the deficit Ghana experienced in 2012 were (sic) the result of shortfall in petroleum revenue, implementation of the SSPP, interest payments, subsidy payments related to social intervention programmes etc…”
The rejoinder added: “in addition to the above we have tracked the causes of the budget overruns in 2013 in the 2014 Budget Statement and in the strategy document presented to Parliament and which was also discussed at the Senchi Forum. We indicated in all these documents that in addition to the above, we also experienced shortfalls in tax revenue resulting from lower domestic output and import levels as well as a decline in commodity prices on the world market, notably gold and cocoa.”
“Nowhere had the Ministry stated or suggested that the overruns were the result of ‘negligence and bad economic management practices Dr. Duffuor administered during his era at the helm of the Finance Ministry’ as alleged by the New Statesman. We demand that the paper apologizes and retracts the story and give this rejoinder the same prominence that it gave to the false story,” the rejoinder concluded.