General News of Thursday, 3 December 2015
Finance Minister Seth Terkper has criticized the NPP for being silent on progress made in the economy whilst unfairly trumpeting the challenges facing the country.
He said the opposition party’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s analysis of the 2016 budget statement yesterday was ‘selective’.
Dr. Bawumia ended his economic analysis highlighting that the NDC government’s management of the economy was a “record of monumental waste of an historic opportunity to transform the economy”.
Despite huge revenues and a growing oil industry, government has choked the economic potential of the country, the economist insisted.
He said through the NDC government’s excessive borrowing, corruption and poor decisions, have imposed hardship and suffering on Ghanaians.
He condemned government for its flawed appreciation of prioritisation which he said accounted for a sustained energy crisis that has crippled many businesses and caused significant discomfort to citizens.
He also picked out the rehabilitation of a runaway in Kumasi which cost $23.8million yet an entire aerodrome in Ho costs $25million. “Was the runway in Kumasi paved with gold?” he questioned.
Bawumia said President John Mahama has “created a toxic mixture of incompetence and corruption which has exploded into suffering of Ghanaians”.
But the Finance Minister has hit back at Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, suggesting that he chose to be political in his analysis than sticking to the rule of professionalism and consistency as a trained economist.
“We are technicians. Dr. Bawumia knows we are technicians and not just a politician…we have to be consistent when we put out numbers”
He said a key flaw in Bawumia’s analysis was that he totally ignored the global economic situation in his analysis.
He said Dr. Bawumia ignored the impact of China on growth and commodity prices which has seen the depreciation of currencies of African giant, South Africa, South American giants, Brazil and countries like Turkey.
“There was nothing said on the global situation,” he said, pointing out that as an economist, it is required that any analysis takes into consideration external influences.
“Which part of the world today is not experiencing slow growth? US is just recovering, the EU [minus Germany] is still not recovering”.
The Finance Minister also pointed out that despite these challenges, government was successful in achieving its revenue target and hoped that any economic analysis ought to acknowledge this progress in the face of difficulties.
“We were able to raise additional revenue. What is inefficient about revenue mobilization? It shows that we are good at revenue mobilization”, the Minister questioned the NPP’s constant reference to government as incompetent.
He also criticized the NPP MPs in Parliament for constantly referring to government failure to provide information on the expenditure of oil revenue.
He said revenue was about GHC 516million in 2012 and detailed how much government apportioned the money to Ammortization, agriculture, road and infrastructure and capacity building. He stated that yearly revenue and expenditure on oil revenues have all been tabled in Parliament in the presence of the Minority.
“By stating that we are not accounting for oil revenues we are doing Ghanaians a disservice,” he said.
He also questioned why Dr. Bawumia would hammer on the NDC receiving 10 times the revenues the NPP received but failing to exalt the 10 times pace of infrastructural developments under the NDC.
“This is the selectively that I was talking about,” Seth Terkper noted
He said although the NPP started the Apedwa road, it took the NDC to issue bonds to fund the project.
Seth Terkper suggested the NPP has been shifting the goal post on the ecoomy because it has moved from talking about the prgoess government has made in aligning public payroll after the 2012 budget misalignments.
The NPP is now criticising the NDC on the size of the public debt. “We are not talking about single spine [salary structure] today,” the minister said.
He said since NDC government has corrected misalignments between payroll and the budget and began paying salary arrears, the NPP is now criticizing the NDC on the size of the public debt.
“We are not talking about single spine [salary structure] today” the minister said.
Seth Terpker also said government had addressed the problem of subsidies and this has also fallen out of the vocabulary of NPP criticisms.
“Anywhere we have made progress in aligning the budget there has been complete silence.”
Picking on the two IMF assessments of the economy, Seth Terpker said the NPP and Dr. Bawumia focus on the concerns about Ghana’s debt but never refer to IMF comments on progress
They quoted the Managing Director on debt they have never quoted the MD on the progress that we are making on the two reviews that we have conducted”.
On the influence of oil on Ghana’s economy, Seth Terpker again noted that the NPP are quick to show selectivity.
“They criticized us on oil expenditure but when they do not want to include oil [contributions] when it comes to [GPD] growth”.