General News of Sunday, 15 March 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The Minority in Parliament has said the economic difficulties the nation would encounter in the course of the year should not be blamed on the fall in the price of crude oil, but on fiscal indiscipline on the part of the government.
It said the situation had only been exacerbated by the fall in crude oil prices.
“We have engaged in fiscal indiscipline which has hindered growth, occasioning our engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The situation has only been exacerbated by the fall in oil prices,” said the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on the floor of the House in reaction to a statement made by the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, in Parliament last Thursday.
Mr Terkper had stated that the fall in crude oil prices on the international market had dire consequences for Ghana.
He said, as a result, there would be an across-the-board reduction in expenditure.
“Let nobody give the impression that all our problems are as a result of the fall in oil prices,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said and noted that the reduction in expenditure would affect capital investments as well as goods and services and would also clearly affect Parliament, the Judiciary and other organs of government.
The Minority Leader said the Finance Minister had failed to tell the nation the implications of the cut in expenditure on economic growth and added that the information was necessary to help the nation to devise new strategies.
A Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Mark Asibey-Yeboah, challenged the statement made by Mr Terkper to the effect that revenue was declining because of the fall in the price of crude oil and said as a net importer of the commodity, the fall in prices should not hit the country that hard.
According to him, the decline in revenue was as a result of the worsening energy crisis and a fast depreciating currency.
“We are a net importer of crude so when crude prices fall, we benefit,” he said.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said the government needed to apprise Parliament, on a regular basis, of the austerity measures being taken in consultation with the IMF.
He described the measures announced by Mr Terkper as “a government’s response to a problem ” and added that it would result in difficulties for the entire country.