The Majority in Parliament has supported claims by the Vice President that a whopping GHC7 billion was not accounted for by the erstwhile John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC).
According to the majority, details of the 7 billion cedis were hidden from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the country struggles to meet targets set under a three-year programme entered into with the Fund.
In a statement issued Thursday, the Majority insisted, the conduct of the past government has dire implications for the country’s budget deficit for 2016.
The statement follows a claim by the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia earlier this week that an amount of 7 billion cedis could not be accounted for in the documents handed to the NPP government during the period of transition.
The Vice president said details of the amount were only uncovered as the NPP began compiling data for the 2017 budget statement.
According to him, the GHC7 billion arrears covered a period of 2014 to 2016, the period when negotiations of the current Extended Credit Facility Program with the IMF began.
But the Minority NDC dismissed the Vice President’s claims. At a press conference a former Deputy Finance Minister, Ato Forson accused Dr. Bawumia of playing petty politics with the matter.
He stated that the details of the GHC7 billion expenditures were captured under a new financial management system called the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIX) which the current government does not understand.
“We in the Minority are displeased with the tendencies of Dr Bawumia to rushing to the population and media with the information particularly the structural measures and reforms without taking the time to understand the rationale for its implementation.
“The government is obliged to incorporate the commitment as a first charge to ministries departments and agencies budget for 2017,” he stated.
But the Majority in Parliament insists the figures about GHC7 billion were hidden not only from Ghanaians but from the IMF.
Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah told Joy News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Joseph Opoku Gakpo that the previous government failed to disclose details of the GHC7 billion in order for them to meet the IMF targets and to benefit from the over $900 million the fund had promised to pay.
If they had disclosed the details of the arrears, Ghana would not have met the target for the budget deficit and would not have benefitted from the payment, he hinted.
He said without the GHC7 billion the country’s budget deficit stood at 9.5 percent of GDP but when its added it shoots the deficit up to over 11.5 percent.
He was sure the failure by the previous government to be transparent and to disclose the accurate figures to the IMF will attract sanctions.