We Are In Deep Hole -Minority

Dr Anthony Akoto Osei
The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament yesterday painted a gloomy picture about Ghana’s economy, pointing out that with over GH¢90 billion national debt, representing over 67% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the economy could not be worse than this.

The Minority therefore asked the Finance Minster, Seth Terkper, and for that matter the government, to stop lying about the messy economy the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has created.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, told journalists in Accra that the NDC inherited a middle income oil economy from the NPP government in January 2009, with the country’s debt standing at GH¢9.5 billion; but now the country finds itself in an economic quagmire, with its debt ballooning to a whopping GH¢90 billion and characterised by massive corruption, debilitating energy crisis, lamentable twin deficits, huge unpaid arrears, worsening unemployment and failing social services.

The debt stock, he said, is still rising owing to recent borrowing, and asked the government to put a stop to the unbridled borrowing which could result in the Greece syndrome.

The minority spokesperson on finance indicated that any country which borrows too much has lost control over its financials and has also lost control over its destiny, which means that currently Ghana has also lost control over its destiny.

“At Ghana’s current debt of GH¢90 billion, each Ghanaian owes GH¢3,600 and this could reach GH¢4,000 (¢40 million) by the end of this year because the current debt does not include the $1.5 billion Eurobond that is expected to close by the end of September this year, and over $300 million recently approved by Parliament,” he noted.

Dr Osei Akoto said if there were to be a reduced expenditure as was indicated by the finance minister, it would result in economic transformation, increased productivity and a strong private sector.

The Minority asked the government to stop borrowing from the domestic market because it is killing local industries which cannot access loans to expand and employ people.

Disingenuous
In its response to the mid-year review of the budget as presented in Parliament by the finance minister last week, the Minority said that it was disingenuous for Mr Terkper to tell Ghanaians that the government was able to live within its projected expenditure in the first five months of 2015 when within the same period the government could not make statutory payments to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and at the same time owing workers.

“The government should have paid GH¢157 million to SSNIT; GH¢191 million to DACF; GH¢112 to GETFund, but all these are in arrears with unpaid road sector arrears of GH¢100 million and non-road sector arrears of GH¢202 million,” the minority spokesperson said, stressing that capital expenditure is also below programmed levels by about GH¢312 million.

According to Dr Akoto Osei, macro-economic targets set in the 2015 budget were all missed leading to sharp decline in the economic well-being of Ghanaians.

“Finance minister says government’s fiscal consolidation efforts started at the beginning of the year is on course. For the period of January – May, 2015, total revenue and grants exceeded target while expenditures too were below target for the same period. These developments resulted in a cash deficit of 1.9% of GDP as against a target of 3.4%. If this was indeed due to prudent economic management, why has the government revised the overall budget deficit from 6.5% of GDP to 7.3%?” Dr Akoto Osei queried.

He proposed that policies must be designed to support stronger economic growth and reduce the chronic high unemployment. The Bank of Ghana must sit up because a sound monetary policy is critical for maintaining a strong economy, the Minority said.

Crude Oil Price
The Minority did not also understand why crude oil price had reduced to $53 per barrel but Ghanaians were being made to buy petroleum products at very high prices.

The group asked the government to significantly reduce fuel prices now that there is a deregulation regime.

“When the NPP is voted into power in 2016, as stated in our 2012 manifesto, we will govern with decisive action plans and timetables and allocate resources prudently. We will develop and implement policies, monitor the results and be prepared to take corrective action to keep a genuine and verifiable transformation agenda on track,” the Minority indicated.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr
The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament yesterday painted a gloomy picture about Ghana’s economy, pointing out that with over GH¢90 billion national debt, representing over 67% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the economy could not be worse than this.

The Minority therefore asked the Finance Minster, Seth Terkper, and for that matter the government, to stop lying about the messy economy the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has created.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, told journalists in Accra that the NDC inherited a middle income oil economy from the NPP government in January 2009, with the country’s debt standing at GH¢9.5 billion; but now the country finds itself in an economic quagmire, with its debt ballooning to a whopping GH¢90 billion and characterised by massive corruption, debilitating energy crisis, lamentable twin deficits, huge unpaid arrears, worsening unemployment and failing social services.

The debt stock, he said, is still rising owing to recent borrowing, and asked the government to put a stop to the unbridled borrowing which could result in the Greece syndrome.

The minority spokesperson on finance indicated that any country which borrows too much has lost control over its financials and has also lost control over its destiny, which means that currently Ghana has also lost control over its destiny.

“At Ghana’s current debt of GH¢90 billion, each Ghanaian owes GH¢3,600 and this could reach GH¢4,000 (¢40 million) by the end of this year because the current debt does not include the $1.5 billion Eurobond that is expected to close by the end of September this year, and over $300 million recently approved by Parliament,” he noted.

Dr Osei Akoto said if there were to be a reduced expenditure as was indicated by the finance minister, it would result in economic transformation, increased productivity and a strong private sector.

The Minority asked the government to stop borrowing from the domestic market because it is killing local industries which cannot access loans to expand and employ people.

Disingenuous
In its response to the mid-year review of the budget as presented in Parliament by the finance minister last week, the Minority said that it was disingenuous for Mr Terkper to tell Ghanaians that the government was able to live within its projected expenditure in the first five months of 2015 when within the same period the government could not make statutory payments to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and at the same time owing workers.

“The government should have paid GH¢157 million to SSNIT; GH¢191 million to DACF; GH¢112 to GETFund, but all these are in arrears with unpaid road sector arrears of GH¢100 million and non-road sector arrears of GH¢202 million,” the minority spokesperson said, stressing that capital expenditure is also below programmed levels by about GH¢312 million.

According to Dr Akoto Osei, macro-economic targets set in the 2015 budget were all missed leading to sharp decline in the economic well-being of Ghanaians.

“Finance minister says government’s fiscal consolidation efforts started at the beginning of the year is on course. For the period of January – May, 2015, total revenue and grants exceeded target while expenditures too were below target for the same period. These developments resulted in a cash deficit of 1.9% of GDP as against a target of 3.4%. If this was indeed due to prudent economic management, why has the government revised the overall budget deficit from 6.5% of GDP to 7.3%?” Dr Akoto Osei queried.

He proposed that policies must be designed to support stronger economic growth and reduce the chronic high unemployment. The Bank of Ghana must sit up because a sound monetary policy is critical for maintaining a strong economy, the Minority said.

Crude Oil Price
The Minority did not also understand why crude oil price had reduced to $53 per barrel but Ghanaians were being made to buy petroleum products at very high prices.

The group asked the government to significantly reduce fuel prices now that there is a deregulation regime.

“When the NPP is voted into power in 2016, as stated in our 2012 manifesto, we will govern with decisive action plans and timetables and allocate resources prudently. We will develop and implement policies, monitor the results and be prepared to take corrective action to keep a genuine and verifiable transformation agenda on track,” the Minority indicated.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr


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