Ghana In The Abyss – Minority

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Caucus in Parliament have declared that the continuous management of the economy which has resulted in a halt of developmental projects and the slowdown of government business was an indication that the country has hit the ditch.

According to the Minority NPP Caucus, all indicators used in measuring the performance of an economy point to the fact that the country was reeling under serious economic pressure, as projected targets continue to be missed year-on-year.

Revenue targets, the Minority argued, have been missed for the first four months of 2014, with the government still been faced with challenges in paying arrears that exist in the system for wages, statutory funds, payments on social security for government employees, payments to road and non-road contractors and capitation grants among many others.

In the midst of the crisis, which has brought untold hardship to many Ghanaians, the government seems to be getting its priorities wrong with authorities of Bui Hydro Dam, reported to have spent close to US$3 million on a golf park, while the nation sleeps in darkness.

“The indiscipline, the impunity in our economic management since 2009, but especially in 2012, the corruption, the ineptitude, the maladministration, the leakages, the placing of square pegs in round holes, the nomination of Ministers designate without properly informing Parliament, the politicization of our civil and public service are the matters that have combined to send this nation into such an abyss,” noted the minority Spokesperson on finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei.

He made these revelations at a press conference held at the premises of the Parliament House yesterday.

According to Dr. Akoto Osei, regardless of the difficulties confronting the country, all the policy interventions introduced by the government have failed, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposing some policy measures to the government to help resuscitate the economy.

On the revenue side, the IMF has proposed an introduction or increase of selective tax rates; higher excise tax on specific products; higher tax rate on real estate along with stepped up registration and valuation efforts; immediate freeze on new tax exemptions; better identification and targeted auditing of large tax payers; and legislative revisions to streamline exemptions permanently and strictly constrain power to grant them.

Among the proposals on the expenditure side were reductions in wage costs through streamlining allowances; non-replacement of departing public sector employees in overstaffed areas; further prioritization of capital spending, combined with reduction in transfers to statutory funds to lowest permissible level and reduction or elimination of transfers to the GNPC.

The Old Tafo legislator averred that the above mentioned measures have far reaching implications; especially for the public sector workforce and that the government could not quietly have discussions with the Breton Wood institution and expects Ghanaians to adopt whatever agreements that are reached.

“If government believes in home grown policies, as they have been trumpeting, the discussions must be done by Ghanaians and the debate must be done now. Nothing is being discussed publicly since Senchi, and this is unacceptable,” said Dr. Akoto Osei. He said the earlier the government engaged Parliament in the discussion since the legislature has a relative short sitting to consider public business.

“A reviewed budget cannot and should not be rushed through Parliament as has become characteristic of this government,” the former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance added.