Don’t blame Covid-19 for abysmal performance of economy- Minority

The Minority has accused Government of hiding behind Covid-19 to cover up for its mismanagement of the economy.

At a media briefing, the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said the Budget Statement presented to Parliament last week seeks to blame COVID-19 for the abysmal performance of the economy in the 2020 Fiscal Year, in particular.

The Minority is of the belief that mismanagement and uncontrolled expenditure and sheer lack of prudence accounted for the poor performance of the economy and not just COVID-19.

On public debt, the Minority said the Government in 2017 inherited a public debt of ¢122 billion. It adds that Ghana’s Total Public Debt increased from ¢120.4 billion at the end of December 2016 to ¢291.6 billion at the end of December 2020, which translates to 171 –point-Two billion cedi increase in  Four years.

The Minority touched on the controversy about the slash in budgets presented to the President by the Judiciary and Parliament.

The Minority called for major reforms and demands that allocations to Parliament and the Judiciary be increased forthwith. The Minority said it is a breach of the Constitution for the Executive to attempt revising the budgets presented by the two other arms of Government.

With respect to fiscal deficits, the Minority notes that for the 2019 fiscal year Government, reported a fiscal deficit of 4.8% of GDP whilst at the same time as confirmed by the IMF in its April, 2020 staff report a fiscal deficit of 7.5% of GDP was the actual rate.

This means an amount of about GHS8.2billion was concealed from government’s expenditure framework. The minority is therefore demanding that the fiscal deficit including arrears for the year 2020 be corrected in the budget statement to reflect the actual figure of 17.5% of GDP.

It argues that the fiscal deficit for the year 2020 of 13.8% of GDP as stated by the Ministry of Finance excludes an amount of GHS6.2 billion being what Government refers to as Energy Sector payments.

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