We are not ignorant; we only hold different position on bond issue – NDC MP

The NDC MP for Keta says the minority’s misgiving with government’s recent local bond issue has to do with its failure to follow the provision of the Public Financial Management Act (921) 2016.

Richard Quarshiga said the issues the NDC MPs raised about the bond were not made out of ignorance but rather based on documents that are available to them.

Speaking to Dzifa Bampoh on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday, he said Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s reference to their queries as ignorant was in bad taste.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

The Vice President fired at the minority when he said its condemnation of government’s local bond issue showed they lack “understanding.”

Government issued a 15-year bond at the rate of 95 percent which was bought by Templeton Investment Limited, a company Trevor G. Trefgarne Director at Enterprise Group Limited (EGL) is on as a Board of Director. Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is a co-founder of EGL. The bond was issued for $2.25 billion.

But the NDC MPs said the bond was “shrouded in secrecy to the extent that Ghanaian investors were denied the opportunity to participate in the deal.”

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

They claimed Mr Trefgarne’s presence on the Templeton Investiment Limited may have influenced the way the bond was issued. They called for a Parliamentary probe into the matter to uncover a possible case of conflict of interest in the bond issue.

Speaking to Joy Business at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Spring Meetings at Washington Friday, Dr Bawumia said he cringed when he heard the argument of the NDC MPs who should have known better.

“The Minority has never understood this economy and it is just amazing that people on their side who were actually in charge of managing the economy would be making such statements,” he said.

But Mr Quarshiga said the Vice President’s lowered his status as the second gentleman of the country. “A high ranking position needs someone who is decorous.”

“The right thing to do is to apologise for not being dignified in his choice of words,” he said, adding they found Dr Bawumia’s suggestion that they should read, very insulting.

“I don’t think it should be coming from his mouth…we hold the position which differs from his [Vice President].”

NPP MP for Ablekuma Central, Ebenezer Nartey, insisted government did no wrong with the issue of the local bond.

He said the minority’s argument that the bond was issued to an ally of the Finance Minister was not tenable because during the late President John Evans Atta Mills’ tenure most government transactions were done through Unibank that was founded by former Finance Minister, Kwabena Duffuor.

“Was it conflict of interest?” he quizzed, adding the call for Parliamentary approval before issuing the bond was also unsustainable because it is only when an international bond is going to be issued that approval is sought from Parliament.

 

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