Former Deputy Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, has described as shameful, plans by government to approve monies for projects that were not captured in the 2018 budget statement.
“For me I believe in fiscal discipline, and cannot be part of this…. I cannot witness or see the Minister of Finance go to this tangent. It is a terrible tangent. It is not something we should allow to stand”
Mr Forson raised the concern when he interacted with the media in Parliament over the government’s plan to raise $1 billion Sovereign Bond to fund its capital expenditure as well as a $1.5 billion facility to retire the country’s maturing debts.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta had come to Parliament to seek their approval for the monies to enable government to undertake its projects in the various sectors of the economy.
Mr Forson also called on the Finance Minister to withdraw the agreement from Parliament, amend it and bring it back for approval.
“I would have thought since he says he going to use the money for the purpose of funding capital expenditure in the budget statement, they would stick to that” he said.
He alluded to the fact that the capital expenditure the government presented in the budget was not enough to borrow for consumption.
“I support liability management but I have reservations if tax-payers’ money is not going to be used in line with the budget statement” he added.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Deputy Minister of Information in his reaction debunked the claims of the Minority that government did not budget for those capital projects in the 2018 budget statement.
According to him, all those projects the Minority is raising issues about were in the 2018 budget and approved by the House.He said in the Economic Policy Statement of government it was made clear that government was going to raise GH¢ 4.7 billion ($1 billion) Sovereign Bond for its capital expenditure.
Mr Nkrumah also challenged the Minority’s argument saying they were being selective on one issue and not speaking to the total appropriation.
He said Parliament had already approved the bond as part of the budget and the Minister of Finance was in the House to ask for warrant to go to the international market to raise the money.
He explained that the uses of the funds were highlighted in November 2017, during the budget presentation and currently in the Minister’s document to Parliament.
Mr Nkrumah further chastised the erstwhile NDC administration for not being fiscally disciplined and leaving a deficit of almost 10 percent.
“In any case we are those who have shown a track record of being fiscally disciplined. You will recall our friends when they were even leaving power in 2016, they did almost 10 percent of deficit to GDP. We came and have brought it down to 6.3 percent hoping to extend further to 4.5 percent”.
He explained that the $1.5 billion facility which was for liability management was to swap for some of the old liabilities the country had.