$23bn borrowed by gov’t gone missing — Minority asserts

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Par­liament has taken a swipe at President John Mahama for his insatiable appetite for contracting loans, querying the government about the whereabouts of $23 billion contracted as loans in the last six years.

The Minority asked the government to account to Ghanaians what it had used all loans amounting to a whopping $27 billion con­tracted under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in six years, adding that by its calcula­tions, the government had used just $3.42 billion on var­ious development projects across the country and there­fore wanted the government to account for the remainder of the money totaling about $23 billion.

“We in the Minority will fight to ensure that the gov­ernment accounts for every penny of loans contracted in the name of Ghanaians,” Minority Leader Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu said at a press conference in Accra yester­day.

He hinted that the Minority had filed an urgent question in Parliament ask­ing the Minister of Finance to come and give details of how the $27 billion contracted by the government had been expended.

The minority leader pointed out that 94% of increased government expen­diture had been for recurrent expenditure, adding that the increase in government debt over the past five years could have been used to build at least 15,000km of asphalted road in the country.

“It is an amount that could have solved Ghana’s energy, water and sanitation problems,” he stressed.

Warning that Ghana might be on the road to HIPC once again, he said the cur­rent unbridled borrowing was putting the country at a great risk.

“As of 2008, Ghana’s total public debt stood at GHÈ»9.5 billion (33% of GDP). In the last six years, however, the stock of public debt has risen dramatically to GHÈ»70 billion (60.8% of GDP) as at Septem­ber 2014. This is an increase in the stock of debt by GHÈ»60.5 billion or the equiv­alent of some $27 billion using the average exchange rate for 2009-2014 or $17.5 bil­lion at

The Minority predicted that the ruling NDC govern­ment would definitely pres­ent a review of the 2015 budget statement to Parlia­ment in March this year, con­sidering the jaundiced nature of the budget and the unrealistic and missed targets it envisages as a result of the implementation of the Interantional Monetory Fund (IMF) induced programmes.

He said the 17.5% tax on petroleum would further increase the already high cost of doing business in the country in 2015 while prices of all goods and services would be affected.

ulture and industry sectors that could propel growth in the econo­my and provide answers to the unemployment situa­tion saw serious underfunding in the 2015 budget and that could have disastrous implications for the country.

“The Transformational Agenda’ of the 2015 budget statement and economic policy of the government can only be a forlorn hope without any factual and fis­cal basis”.

The minority leader said the 2015 budget would not provide any better condi­tion of services for teachers, doctors, nurses, civil ser­vants and workers in gener­al.

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