General News of Thursday, 4 April 2013
The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has accused the government of wantonly dissipating public funds to the detriment of urgent national concerns.
The Party, in a statement issued on Thursday April 4, 2013 said: “The government in 2012 alone overspent the national budget to the tune of GH¢8.7 billion”.
It said: “The overspending included GH¢60 million by the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology; GH¢200 million at the NYEP/GYEEDA; GH¢350 million by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and GH¢650 million by the Office of Government Machinery/Office of the President, and many more”.
The statement signed by Nana Akomea, National Communication Director of the NPP noted that: “Spending on so called capacity building alone jumped from GH¢750,000 in 2011 to GH¢112 million (¢7.55 billion to ¢1.1 trillion)”.
The Party urged “Ghanaians to stand up in the fight to stop the National Democratic Congress government in the gross and wanton dissipation of public funds, while the most basic needs of Ghanaians are not met”.
It said: “These unaccounted for overspending becomes even more mind boggling when considered against the alternatives that are asking for attention”.
“There are supposed to be seven interchanges on the N1 which will go a long way to prevent the needless loss of Ghanaian lives due to accidents and knockdowns on that very important road. Each interchange costs $15 million. Only two were built. Government could not find the $75 million for the remaining 5. Yet GYEEDA alone overspent $100 million in the last 3 months of 2012”.
It added that: “The N1 highway (probably the most spectacular road construction project in the last 10 years) cost about $180 million. The overspending at the Office of the President, alone, GH¢650 million (about $340 million), could have built two more N1 highways”.
On Education, the NPP said: “In the 2013 budget, GH¢173 million is provided to build 50 community SHS (i.e. GH¢3.46 million each) and GH¢62 million provided to build 10 colleges of education (i.e. GH¢6.2 million each). The overspending at GYEEDA alone could have provided over 100 community SHS, or 56 teacher training colleges”.
Additionally, it said: “In 2012, government could only spend GH¢40 million to pay capitation grant for the 5.4 million Ghanaian children in public basic schools. But the same government spent GH¢112 million in 2012 on so-called “capacity building”.
As far as wages of workers in the public sector is concerned, the statement said: “The NDC government has claimed that the Single Spine has become a significant burden, accounting for GH¢1.9 billion of the overspending. But the government also proceeded to overspend GH¢650 million at the Office of government machinery, GH¢350 million at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, GH¢350 million at NADMO, GH¢700 million for Social Protection Programmes; all totaling over GH¢1.9 billion. So what is the noise on the Single Spine about?”
On the National Health Insurance Scheme, the party wondered why the “Government would not pay GH¢50 million to the 180 mission hospitals, until the hospitals withdrew services to poor, innocent and sick Ghanaians, compared to the overspend of GH¢350 million of NADMO alone”.
It went on to state that the government is “quick to refer to the $3 billion Chinese loan as a major panacea for many of its developmental challenges” even though “the public debt increased from GH¢9.5 billion to GH¢33.5 billion” between 2009 and 2012; “an increase of GH¢6 billion every year”.
It claimed: “The GH¢6 billion addition per year amounts to $3 billion per year; same as the Chinese loan which is supposed to solve many of our developmental challenges”.
The party concluded that: “It is clear now that the current problems we are facing now are not due to the lack of money, but rather the lack of judicious use of available resources”.
It said: “It is trite knowledge that most of this overspending (in the last three months of 2012) went into the gargantuan, unbridled and lavish spending that attended the NDC 2012 campaign. After this wanton and reckless dissipation of taxpayers’ money by the NDC government to fund their election campaign, the poor tax payer is now being asked to pay for the recklessness through increased prices of petrol, gas, taxes, and (very soon) utility tariffs. The meet is indeed down to the bone”.