A former Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper has said the mid year budget review which is expected to be presented to parliament by Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta should cover all exceptional costs.
Mr Ofori Atta is expected to present a review of the mid-year budget before Parliament on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
In accordance with Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 92), the Finance Minister is mandated to provide Parliament on the strategies and roadmaps as to how government intends to deal with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana.
Ghana’s budget deficit for 2020 is likely to double the legal limit as a result of the adverse impact of Coronavirus on the economy which sees an undoing of the fiscal discipline that was supposed to curb financial bailouts from other countries.
Speaking to journalists, Mr. Terkper said : “…So we are saying that it will be good for us to come now and explain why we have a difference with the IMF. I’ve said that in the past, Ghana’s fiscal practice is to include all exceptional cost, and I hope that the Mid-Year review will go back to that.
“Government must reconcile its own position with the fund as it’s important for its own fiscal credibility. Doing this for us will mean government’s admission of adjustment to performance in the past, which was shown as stellar. But it’s fair to Ghanaians, and especially when you accuse other administrations of poor performance.”
He further called for accountability in the usage of the COVID-19 funds.
“The financing which we secured purposely for COVID, the $ 1 billion IMF loan, the World Bank support, the Stabilization Fund withdrawal, other releases that we have got, all amounts to about, at the time we did our calculation, GHC 10 billion.
“I think I heard the minority say that it’s about GHC 16 billion which is higher than the cost of COVID. So even though the cost of COVID could have gone up, it is important to note that back then when the Bank of Ghana financing and other financing were being considered we had secured enough for COVID.”
“So why were we getting those additional borrowings and the rest ?. The only explanation is that the borrowing was being done or is being done to finance items that were not being disclosed.”