Politics of Thursday, 3 August 2017
The Minority in Parliament’s contentions with the Akufo-Addo administration’s mid-year budget review are illegitimate, a deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, has asserted.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Kwarteng said the Minority was simply looking to find something wrong with the Finance Minister’s presentation for the sake of it to project a sense of opposition vigilance.
“It isn’t the case that anytime government presents something, you must find something wrong. If there is nothing wrong, you may keep quiet,” the Minister said to the Minority.
The Minority at a press conference on Wednesday contended that the Akufo-Addo administration breached Financial Administration Regulation 193 by doctoring figures during its mid-year review.
Addressing the press conference, the Ranking Member of 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.
Responding to this, Mr. Kwarteng explained that what they were trying to do was to take government’s revised projection to Parliament and because they were all downward projections, they didn’t see the need to seek supplementary appropriation.
“At the time we sent the budget to Parliament, we did indicate that we would pay an amount for interest payments. Since then, we have done a lot of debt re-profiling. We have borrowed long term at lower rates to retire old debts that carried higher rates so that our overall interest burden would be lessened.”
“We have achieved that and when we went to Parliament to review the figures, we thought it wise to indicate that we have been able to reduce our interest burden to this figure. Why should anybody want to criticize that?”
In Mr. Kwarteng’s view, the rumblings from the Minority were simply unhelpful and brewing unhealthy tension.
“All the points that Honorable Ato Forson made, in my respectful opinion, are illegitimate points. It would appear to me that there was the need to say something and trying hard to find something to say isn’t helpful in these circumstances. These general suggestions of some wrongdoing and calling on Parliament to investigate is politics that is unhelpful.”
“My respectful suggestion to them is that they must raise issues that would be worth debates that government can learn something from; not these respectfully illegitimate issues that do nothing but create unhealthy engagements between the Minority and Majority.”