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IMF To Sanction Ghana - Over NDCís Unaccounted GHc7billion   
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The Majority in Parliament says the failure of the previous Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government to account for GH7 billion expenditure could result in punitive action against the country by the International Monetary Fund.

This was made known yesterday by Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Mark Assibey Yeboah, at a press conference organized by Majority who have warned that if figures were not reconciled with the right data from the previous government, the country could be sanctioned by the IMF.

It can be recalled that the International Monetary Fund in 2001 slapped a $39million fine on Ghana for misrepresenting the state of the economy. The penalty was over misinformation made by the previous government of Jerry John Rawlings for the period August 21 to December 31, 2000.

The press conference by the majority was in response to earlier attempts by the NDC minority to downplay claims by the Vice President that the previous government failed to account for GHC7 billion it spent while in office.

The Minority, Wednesday, rebutted the vice president’s claims, saying the GHC7 billion was used for part of the contract database and outstanding commitment, and did not constitute the conventional definition of arrears.

According to them, the GHC 7 billion expenditure was occasioned by a major initiative or reform on government contracts and expenditure, which is part of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System project that the new administration is expected to continue implementing.

But, according to Dr Assibey Yeboah, who is also the MP for Juaben South, the Mahama-led NDC government had not been truthful in its dealings with the IMF.

“On the face of the reality that the arrears date back to 2014, then it will suggest that when the previous administration entered into negotiations with the IMF, full disclosure of data was not made available to the fund,” the MP insisted.

He added, “Again, on account that arrears for 2015 and 2016 were not fully disclosed, that raises further questions on the integrity of data that we have been churning out over the past eight years.”

The Chairman of the Finance Committee pointed out that the majority had information with regards to a budget deficit on cash basis of 8.5 to 9.5 per cent of the GDP. He added that the new uncovered arrears could put the overall budget deficit at 10 to 11 per cent of GDP.

He stated that with an economy with a size of $41.5 billion, the current deficit numbers showed that in 2016 alone the expenditures far exceeded revenues by as much as $4.0 billion.

Dr Assibey Yeboah was of the view that the IMF stood in a better position to make some of these issues clear.

“As to whether this represents a breach of the ECF programme conditionality, we will know by next week when the mission chief is expected to brief donors on his findings. Under the programme, the government is not allowed to accumulate arrears. This may yet represent another serious breach of the programme and if care is not taken, punitive actions could be taken against Ghana,” he warned.
Source: The New Statesman

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