Gov’t doctored budget figures just to ‘look good’ – Minority

Business News of Thursday, 3 August 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

2017-08-03

Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson

The Akufo-Addo administration breached Financial Administration Regulation 193 and doctored figures during its mid-year review, according to the Minority in Parliament.

At a press conference addressed by the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson said the Minister of Finance reversed interest payments to the tune of GHc 758.5 million and reviewed the GDP without a formal Ghana Statistical Service Statement at the end of the 2016 financial year.

He said the Minority felt this was done “for the sole purpose of making the government’s dismal performance for the first half of the Financial Year 2017 look good,” whilst making the performance for Financial Year 2016, for which the now-Minority was in power, worse.

He described the “doctoring” of figures as “shameful” and cosmetic.

Among the concerns noted, the Minority highlighted that in the summary of revised Central Government Operations for 2017, the Minister of Finance reduced domestic interest payment by an amount of GHc657,00,271 “to create the impression that expenditure on domestic inters payment is being reduced.

“This is clearly compressed and contrived. This is a blatant disregard for cut off fiscal rules in accordance to the Financial Administration Regulations (FAR) 193.”

The Minority’s qualms stem from the cut-off fiscal rule which notes that expenditure and revenue falling on the last day of the month or year during the year accrue to the next working day.

In the case of 2016, the financial year ended on Saturday, December 31 thus, the revenue would accrue to the next working day which would have been Tuesday, January 3.

Mr. Ato Forson said Ghanaians needed to be alarmed that “the Minister will unilaterally change a long-standing fiscal rule (and indeed business rule) with respect to only one particular expenditure for the misplaced and selfish purpose of making the performance of the first half of 2017 look good.”

The Minority thus called for the Auditor General and Parliament to probe the matter concerning the breach of the cut-off fiscal rule by the Finance Minister.

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