Our figures are not cooked -Majority replies Minority
The Majority in Parliament has indicated to the Minority that the figures presented to the House by the Finance Minister last Thursday were not cooked ones. They indicated this to the Minority Caucus when a motion was moved for the House to commence the debate on the approval of the Mid-Year Budget Review.
It would be recalled that on Thursday July 23, the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, moved the motion for the House to approve an amount of GH¢11,896,477,566 as supplementary estimate for the 2020 fiscal year.
A member of the Minority Caucus, Mr Isaac Adongo, Member of Parliament (MP)for Bolgatanga Central, while making his submission on the motion, purported that most of the figures presented to the House by the Finance Minister were inaccurate and do not reflect the reality.
However, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister for Information and MP for Ofoase/Ayirebi, said
Mr Adongo shouldn’t think he had a more accurate computation of figures than the one presented by the Minister of Finance. “We are not in the business of cooking the books,” he said, adding that Ghana was on a clear trajectory of economic growth until the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even with the pandemic, the President had demonstrated compassion to tackle the challenges, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.
He indicated that the President had moved to invest in logistics to save the lives of the citizens. Additionally, the President had also provided free water and electricity to those on the lifeline, and he looks to do some more.
There is also the bold announcement by the President on the Ghana Cares Programme to ensure food security, productivity, invest significantly in infrastructure, and many others. He noted that this was not the first time the Minority had sought to undermine the work that the government was doing by indicating that it was feeding Ghanaians with cooked figures.
He said during the substantive budget review in November 2019, the Minority indicated that the Minister had cooked the figures. The Minority announced to the Ghanaian public that the Minister had presented a different set of figures to Parliament and a different one to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He said the last time the government was sanctioned for cooking the books was right after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had exited office, and that if anyone is in the business of cooking, then it is the NDC.
Madam Abena Osei-Asare, Deputy Minister of Finance, who also made inputs into the discussions, said the figures were not cooked; “they are transparent and will stand the test of time any day, any time.”
She said the only intent of the Akufo-Addo administration was to protect the public purse, as well as the lives of the citizens. She said the government had lived up to that mandate by introducing programmes to that effect.
She said initiatives such as the Free Senior High School (SHS), Planting for Food and Jobs, and One District One Factory are all programmes put in place to protect the lives of the people.
She said the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, for instance, had improved the food security situation in the country.
The government has spent about GH¢1.85 billion and there is abundant of food on the tables of many Ghanaians.
She said the government had shown great leadership in these trying times to ensure that the citizens are well protected, and that’s commendable.
However, the former Deputy Minister of Power, Mr John Jinapor, still argued that the Akufo-Addo administration had not performed well.
He said when the NDC was leaving office the fishing sector was growing at 3.1 percent, but was now growing at 1.7 percent. The manufacturing sector was at 7.9 percent whiles this administration is 6.3 percent. He also said that the construction sector, which employees the bulk of the youth, was growing at 8.4 percent and now growing at negative 4.4 percent.
Our debt level was 56.7 percent, but the Minister concedes that he had increased our debt to 67 percent.
On the exchange rate, we were depreciating at 8 percent, but at 2019, the cedi depreciated by 13 percent, he revealed.
“When we were leaving the financial sector was growing at 8 percent, but at the end of 2019, the percentage was 1.6 percent,” he said.
Mr Jinapor indicated that based on the above figures, the Akufo-Addo administration’s performance was abysmal and was not a good record. He said the economy was in a state of coma and heading to a catastrophe and must be rescued.