Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the Minority MPs lack knowledge in economics and mathematics.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah made the comment when he rebutted claims made by the Minority that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, intends to present cooked figures during his 2020 budget presentation to the legislators today (Wednesday, November 13, 2019).
The information minister questioned the necessity of the minority to the state if they could sit aloof for government to deceive them with cooked figures for the past three years.
Additionally, he said, “Assuming all the figures we’ve given for the past years are untrue and you’ve now made calculations three years down the line to ascertain the falsity in the figures being presented by the government, then there is a problem with the Economics and Mathematics they did.”
“If the figures are not correct, how come the IMF, Economic Intelligence Unit, Standard and Ports and all Economists across the globe say it’s true except the NDC?” he asked.
Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, had tasked Mr Ofori-Atta to provide real figures to Ghanaians on Wednesday as he presents the 2020 budget statement and financial policy of the government.
Ato Forson said all budget statements presented by the NPP government since assuming office in 2017 were false.
“What we want to say is that, the primary balance reported in 2017 is not true, 2018 fiscal deficit and primary balance reported are not true, and we want to repeat that the 2019 half-year fiscal deficit and primary balance reported are not true so the President and his Finance Minister have devised a strategy to massage the numbers to look good in the eyes of the citizenry”, Mr. Forson said this when commenting on the upcoming budget presentation
Mr Ofori-Atta will present the 2020 budget statement and financial policy of the government on November 14, 2019.
This was made known by Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo, during her opening remarks in the House on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
She said Parliament will pass the Appropriation Bill when all other internal processes are completed.
“Mr Speaker in this meeting, we will also have the budget hearing which is tentatively scheduled for the 14th of November and the dates will be scheduled on sectorial bases. Estimates of the budget will be interrogated at the committee levels and subsequently, this House will pass the Appropriation Bill.”
The main highlight of the session is expected to be the presentation of the 2020 budget by the Finance Minister, and the approval of estimates for various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). It will be the fourth budget of the Akufo-Addo administration, in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Ato Forson, the Ajumako Enyan Essiam legislator, thinks it is time the government stopped deceiving the Ghanaians in its bid to look good at managing the affairs of the country.
“The Fiscal deficit for 2019 half-year is approximately 7.8 per cent of GDP instead of the 4.1 he [Finance Minister] is talking about. 2017 fiscal deficit was under-reported by 1.5 per cent of GDP [and the] 2018 fiscal deficit was underestimated by GHC 1billion equivalent”, he backed his claims.
He also accused the government of increasing the debt stock exponentially only two years and ten months in office. “NPP government met a debt of GHC 120.3 billion and after 31 months in office, they have increased it to 205.5 billion adding GHC 85.5”.
His expectation ahead of the budget is for “all the misreporting to be corrected, the three tax policies he [Prez. Akufo-Addo] promised which are the removal of the National Fiscal Stabilization Levy and the Special Import Levy and reduce Corporate Income tax from 25 per cent to 20 per cent which are the promises President Akufo-Addo made to Ghanaians”.
Story: Kofi Owusu Tawiah