The Deputy Minister-designate for Finance, Ricketts Kweku Hagan, has said that unplanned expenditure by government contributes significantly to huge budget deficits.
Answering questions on how the country could solve or manage its huge budget deficit problem at yesterday’s vetting, the deputy minister-designate said in view of the challenges in raising enough revenue for development projects, unplanned expenditure and investment in what he described as ‘wasteful’ projects could throw the country’s fiscal policies into disarray.
He however fell short of mentioning any project which he called ‘wasteful’.
He therefore called for an unwavering discipline in the fiscal regime of the country otherwise the country would continue to be weighed down by mounting budget deficits.
He said one critical area of budget financing is capital expenditure where the government should think of putting money into projects that would eventually pay for themselves.
He said the government must not bank its hopes so much on loans and grants and rather find creative ways of raising money to fund development projects.
According to him, one area that government could raise money is the capital market and as an investment banker he was prepared to bring his expertise on board to help the Mahama-led-government to raise much money from the capital market the country’s development projects.
He said as one of the persons who helped to establish a world trade centre in the country, he would help the Mahama administration to attract a lot of investment from the capital market.
Dr. Bernice Adiku Heloo and Joyce Bawah-Mogtari
The turn of a Deputy Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development, Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, who was the Municipal Chief Executive for Nkoranza South turned into grilling session on his curriculum vitae as members of the Appointments Committee members found it very difficult to reconcile two masters programmes that he did separately at two different universities in the United Kingdom and Germany within the same period of time.
According to the deputy minister-designate he did an MA programme in Global Business at the University of Westminster in the UK and at the same time also did an MBA in International Entrepreneurship at the University of Applied Science in Bremen, Germany from September, 2007 to July, 2008.
Members of the committee led by the Majority Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak grilled him on how he was able to read the two programmes at the same time.
He tried so much to explain the circumstances under which he read the two programmes at the same time but the members were not so much convinced and the compelled the chairman of the committee to ask the deputy minister-designate to furnish the committee with the certificate of those programmes and all other educational certificates by today.
Answering a substantive question on what he thought about the constitutional review commission’s recommendation that district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives should be elected and that before being elected they should be interviewed by the Public Services Commission, the deputy minister-designate said it was a brilliant idea and he was in full support of that idea because majority of Ghanaians have shown through democracy that they wanted their DCEs to be elected.
When he was asked by a member of the committee about how he could help solve the problem of frictions between Members of Parliament and DCEs at the district assemblies, he said that was a very disturbing development and said as a former MCE, he would help educate DCEs about the distinct roles of the two personalities.
The Deputy Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Dr Bernice Heloo, said she would be helping to encourage more female students to take up science subjects in school.
She noted that the number of female students venturing into science was not encouraging but president Mahama’s administration had put in place programmes to encourage girls to show much interest in science-related subjects.
According to her, the government has been offering scholarships to female students who are interested in studying science apart from science clinic for girls.
The Deputy Minister-designate for Transport, Joyce Bawah Mogtari, for her part said she would collaborate with the substantive minister to put in place measures to help reduce the high rate of road accidents and boat accidents on the Volta Lake.
She also assured the committee that as a woman who was going to partner another woman, she would do her best to help her substantive minister succeed in her job and not undermine her as many people believe ‘a woman finds it difficult to work under another woman’.
The Deputy Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs, Thomas Kwesi Quartey, did not agree with some members of the committee who said most employees with the foreign missions have been treating Ghanaians abroad badly anytime they faced problems abroad, saying that notion was rather the opposite.
“It is not true that our people in our foreign missions have been mistreating our own brothers and sisters abroad,” he said adding that as far as he was concerned people working in our foreign missions are well-trained, understanding and very patriotic.
He said there was the need for the harmonisation of data on true Ghanaian citizens, stressing that the national identification system was so paramount to ensure that other nationals did not fake their identities to acquire Ghanaian passports.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr