Business News of Saturday, 21 January 2017
Senior Minister Nominee, Yaw Osafo-Maafo has disclosed that the lack of accurate data on Ghana’s debt has made it difficult for the NPP government to make projections on the fiscal gap to influence planning.
According to him, the inconsistency of data from the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana on the debt owed by government impedes government’s decision to chart a comprehensive fiscal plan.
This is not the first time the issue of inaccurate or inconsistent data has been leveled against any government agency. In 2015, the NPP’s vice presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia questioned, particularly the food price inflation and GDP being churned out by the GSS and pointed out that since 2009, the normal relationship between food and non-food inflation seemed to no longer exist.
Dr Bawumia further explained in the lecture that inflation rate must correspond with interest rates, cost of living as well as the exchange rate. But the GSS in a response attributed the development to ‘an error during the transmission of the data unto its website.’
The NPP government has through its policy interventions announced plans to borrow to shore up government’s revenue citing the widening fiscal deficit. But responding to a question from the appointments committee of Parliament on how much the government will borrow in 2017 to lessen the fiscal space, Yaw Osafo-Maafo would not readily mention the amount citing the lack of accurate and consistent data.
“At the moment we do not even have all accurate figures from the Bank of Ghana and Ministry of Finance, we are getting a lot of inconsistencies arriving out from what we call arrears in the pipeline from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.”
“I will not be in a position to talk about financial gap; one can only talk about borrowing when you have determined some of these things which we are not able to do now,”Mr. Osafo-Maafo added.