Mid-year budget review: Gov’t unprepared but too early to criticise – Ato Forson

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It is too early to accuse the government of running away from the mid-year budget review presentation following the postponement, Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, Cassiel Ato Forson, has said.

He however said the postponement shows the government is unprepared.

On Tuesday July 12, a Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare, explained the decision to postpone the presentation by the Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

The presentation was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 13 but has had to be pushed forward due to the arrival of the team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the initial discussions on the possibility of Ghana getting a programme from the Fund, Madam Osei Asare said.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Parliament, she explained that the law has stipulated July 31 for the mid year budget presentation to be done therefore, the government, despite the postponement, is still within time.

She said “This first mission is more of data collection and so, that is exactly what they are doing. Like I said, with data collection, you need to give them every thing that they are requesting for so we need that time and space to attend to them.

“Just like you are doing an audit, you need to attend to whatever it is that they are asking for. Once you do that and it is completed we will come to Parliament and also submit the mid year.

“This is something we have been doing every time. We scheduled the date for 13th before the announcement of the engagement with the IMF.

“So clearly, as humans as we are, we should all understand that in this data-finding mission of the IMF, we need that space and time to address that and give them. Once we are done, 25th we will come to Parliament and do the mid-year budget review, you should all know that per the PMF law we have up until 31st July to do that so we are still within the law and the time.”

Also speaking to journalists on the same day in Parliament, Mr Ato Forson said “It is early days yet. I don’t think negotiations have started, [IMF team] are only here to gather data and that data probably, will take some months before they can get the data.

“After they gather the data, that can inform the negotiations as to how the programme design should be. So currently, nothing is on the table. Let us wait for the minister of Finance to appear before us. It is too early for me to say they have ran away but it shows clearly that they are unprepared.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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