General News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Former Deputy Minister of Finance, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan has described the mid-year budget review presented to parliament by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta as far from reality.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Cape Coast South constituency told Class91.3FM’s parliamentary correspondent Ekow Annan shortly after Mr Ofori-Atta’s presentation on Monday, July 31 that: “The minister tried very hard to window-dress the economy but obviously it wasn’t working because things are not that good”.
According to his assessment, if the economy has seen significant growth, the minister will not be reviewing some key figures and indicators downwards.
“If things are going well, why are you revising your figures downwards? If things are going well, figures should be unrevised or reviewed upwards. …You can say that things are good as many times as you want but that will not make things good,” he added.
Mr Ofori-Atta, while presenting the budget said the NPP government inherited a “weak” economy from the John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
He said: “Mr Speaker, we inherited a weak economy characterised by high fiscal deficit, 9.3 per cent of GDP on a cash basis against the then-target of five per cent on cash basis. A primary deficit of 1.4 per cent of GDP against a target surplus of 1.2 per cent, a high debt-to-GDP ratio of 73 per cent of GDP, high inflation of 15.4 per cent, low credit to the private sector, high interest rate, 91 per cent treasury bill rate at 16.4 per cent, weak domestic revenue mobilisation, low external reserves of 2.8 months of import cover, policy reversals including some unconstrained expenditure, seven billion of our standing commitments and un-discharged obligations and weak economic growth of 3.5 per cent – the lowest in 15 years.”
He added: “But Mr Speaker, permit me to reassure this august house that the Akufo-Addo government is not daunted by this statistics that were passed on to us.”
However, Mr Ricketts-Hagan argued that the figures and projections in the mid-year budget were only designed to deceive Ghanaians.
“It has been deception from day one. They presented a deceptive budget, they basically deceived Ghanaians to vote for them and at the end of the day, they are not delivering,” he said.