Mahama awarded contracts by heart -Ofori-Atta
The previous Mahama-led government had the fondness of just awarding contracts without considering a payment plan, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has revealed.
The development, he said, had a negative impact, as the Akufo-Addo government had to find ways to clear the debt.
According to him, about GH¢11 billion of outstanding claims were left by the previous government to be paid, out of which the Auditor General had validated GH¢6.5 billion.
The Minister made this known yesterday in his presentation to Parliament on the 2020 mid-year fiscal policy review, and supplementary estimate.
Mr Ofori-Atta, who appeared in his usual all-white apparel, informed the House that the government had paid almost GH¢5 billion of the unpaid bills which it inherited, an action, he indicated further, had amply demonstrated the government’s commitment to prudent financial management, ensuring value for money, and being held accountable for our actions.
Speaking through his white nose mask neatly designed with a touch of the colours of the Ghana flag, Ken Ofori-Atta said: “Mr Speaker, the previous government had the penchant of awarding contracts by heart, even when they had no ideas how to pay for them.”
“So, to protect the public purse, my Ministry initiated and requested the Auditor General to audit and validate the over GH¢11 billion of outstanding claims, which had been approved and left by the previous government to be paid. The Auditor General validated GH¢6 billion of the GH¢11 billion claims. We await the consequent surcharging of all those complicit in the submission of the disallowed claims from the Auditor General,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister noted that this administration was doing something different in order to protect the public purse.
He announced that the government had also put in place key structural measures to sustain the path towards fiscal consolidation, growth, and ensure irreversibility; the measures include the passage of Fiscal Responsibility Act 2018 (Act 982), and forging Social Partnerships with Organised Labour and Employers to enhance the quality of dialogue and implementation.
“We have also established and operationalised the Fiscal and Financial Stability Councils to enhance the monitoring of government’s fiscal and financial policies,” he added.
However, on infrastructure development, specifically roads, the Minister, while reminding Ghanaians of the government’s declaration of 2020 as the year of roads, Mr Ofori-Atta posited that the sector had seen a massive injection of resources.
He outlined what he termed as major construction works being undertaken this year, including: the Pokuase Interchange under the Accra Urban Transport Project. This involves the construction of a fou-tier interchange. Progress, currently stands at 74 percent; Tema Motorway Roundabout, a three-tier interchange, which has been completed and commissioned; Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle Interchange and ancillary works (Phase 1), currently at 45 percent completion; Kumasi Lake Roads and Drainage Extension project, at 55 percent completion as at June 2020; Construction of seven bridges located at Kulun, Garu (two bridges), Ambalara, Kulungugu, Doninga, and Sissili. Overall physical progress stands at 70 percent, with five being substantially completed.
“The following government priority projects are ongoing under [the] IPEP; 568 out of the 1,000 Community-based Mechanised Water Systems are complete, and the rest are at advanced stages of completion; under the “Toilet for All” agenda, construction of 600 out of the 1,000, 10-seater water closet toilets have been completed. The remaining are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year 2020; Forty-one, representing 82 percent, of the target of fifty 1,000mt-capacity prefabricated grain warehouses have been completed and ready to be handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ghana Buffer Stock Company very soon. To date, 437 small-earth dams to provide water storage for households, irrigation, and livestock are under construction; 88 have been completed, while 251 are 90-100 percent complete. Additionally, government is redeveloping the Dome-Kwabenya market, and also constructing a new market complex at Mankessim.”
Meanwhile, the Minister indicated that while this pandemic requires the government to exceed the limits imposed by the FRA, Act, 982, it have had to make major expenditures to protect the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians and sustain businesses.
As such, “we, therefore, request a supplementary Budget of GH¢11,896,477,566 to enable us continue this extraordinary task.”