General News of Tuesday, 21 February 2017
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) General Secretary says he is expecting President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to fulfil all his promises made to Ghanaians.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia said the President has no excuse to falter in their fulfillment because of the nature of economy he inherited from the previous administration.
“I hope they are not going to use these statistics to run away from their promises,” he told Joy News minutes after the President presented his first State of the Nation Address Tuesday (SONA).
The President has said the former President John Mahama failed to live up to the promises he made about controlling the “reckless public expenditure” in the lead up to the 2016 elections.
Rather, he said the conditions that led to Ghana signing onto the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme after the 2012 election was repeated.
“Fiscal indiscipline, once again, reared its head in the 2016 election year,” he said adding, “Total projected expenditure for 2016 was GH¢43.9 billion (26% of GDP), but actual expenditure amounted to GH¢50.3 billion (30.2% of GDP).”
He also said his government discovered some GH¢7 billion arrears and outstanding payments found in the data handed over to them.
The President said he was surprised because the money was spent despite the “very public financial management system that was put in place to prevent such occurrences.”
He was emphatic that Ghana’s revenue performance for the year 2016 was poor.
“The total revenue target for our country was GH¢37.9 billion (22.7% of GDP), but the actual revenue came in at GH¢33.2 billion (19.9% of GDP),” he said.
According to him, the combination of “higher expenditures and lower revenues than projected resulted in a significant increase in the budget deficit for 2016.”
“As compared to a target of 5.3% under the IMF programme, the fiscal deficit for 2016 was 9% of GDP on a cash basis and 10.2% of GDP on a commitment basis (that is on the basis of expenditures undertaken but not yet paid for),” he added.
Although he did not dispute the figures, Mr Nketia said President Akufo-Addo’s picture about the economy was nothing new.
He said figures are used to tell lies and tell a better story about any situation, adding the President chose the former.
Nonetheless, Mr Nketia said he is not interested in whatever prescription he put on the economy. “We are expecting to see the $1 million, one district, one factory,” he said.