General News of Friday, 2 November 2018
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, James Klutse Avedzi, has stated that the government exceeded its projected expenditure for the first half of 2018 by almost 100 million cedis.
According to him, a document signed by the Controller and Accountant General’s and dated October 4, 2018, showed that despite budgeting to spend GHc67 billion on salary and interest payments, among other things, by the end of 2018, the government had already exceeded that amount by about GHc61 million at the end of June.
“What is interesting in the half year account is the total expenditure. In fact, I don’t know where government is getting the money from, I was shocked when I saw it. For payments; salaries, goods and services, interest payments and all those type of payments, they budgeted to spend GHc67 billion by the end of the year.
“By the end of June, they should have paid GHc33.6 billion which is what they should have paid to be on target. But what they have actually paid is Ghc128 billion and the variance is -GHc94.6 billion. I don’t know what kind of payments they made.”
He also stated that the government had failed to meet its half-year revenue target, with a deficit of GHc 1 billion, adding that he will “seek further explanations” from the Controller and Accountant General on the figures.
“I have the [revenue] report of the Controller and Account General as of June. They budgeted to collect GHc51 billion. By June they should have collected GHc25.5 billion which is half of the amount but as of June, they had collected only 24.5 billion. Are we comfortable with not achieving our targets?
Mr Avedzi, who is also the Deputy Minority Leader, stated that he expected the budget for 2019, which is set to be read on November 15, to be “a rehash of the previous two budgets.”
Protecting the public purse
President Akufo-Addo said earlier in the year that his government was working tirelessly to protect the public purse as he promised prior to election 2016.
Speaking at a Media Encounter he said his government has been managing things differently in order to protect the public purse and ensure value for money in all of its activities.
He said this was necessary considering that they inherited a “huge public debt in a country with its macroeconomic fundamentals in disarray.”
“We had to do things differently, and those were my marching orders to all members of the government. We have rapidly had to grow and expand the economy, and that can only happen when the fundamentals are in place. The Economic Management team has risen to the challenge and demonstrated that doing things differently achieves positive results.”