A former Finance Minister under the Kufuor administration has warned that the reckless handling of the Ghanaian economy by the Mills-Mahama-Amissah Arthur led National Democratic Congress administration over the last four years will result in Ghana once again becoming a Highly Indebted Poor Country very soon.
Anthony Osei Akoto, who is also the Member of Parliament for Tafo/Pankron, expressed this fear last week in an interview on Peace FM’s morning show, Kokrokoo.
He explained that Ghana, under the rule of the NDC had been experiencing the conditions that resulted in a ‘bad economy’ which the NPP inherited in 2001 from the same NDC led government. This development, according to the former Minister, resulted in Ghana going HIPC.
The conditions, which he cited, included the ‘gargantuan’ and spiraling public debt, rising fiscal deficit, reckless expenditure from government, in 2012 especially.
Already the 'New Statesman' has published details of how some GH˘500 million was disbursed by government in November and December before the December 2012 elections.
“We (the NPP) are not the only people saying that; very notable people in the country are raising issues of the Mahama led administration concerning the state of Ghana’s economy,” he said.
Explaining why Ghana was on the highway to becoming HIPC once again, Dr. Akoto Osei stated that the Mills-Mahama administration inherited a total public debt of US$8 billion (paragraph 94 of 2009 budget statement), equivalent of GH˘9.5 billion at the beginning of 2009 but within just four years, the debt had escalated to GH˘33.5 billion.
“In 2000, after President Kufuor commenced his governance, Ghana was in debt from the Rawlings administration so he (Prez Kufuor) took a bold initiative and led Ghana into becoming HIPC nation. That is what we (the NPP) are saying that the NDC is leading us to.
“…During the past years, money spent by the NDC government is repulsive. Ministries are spending money which is not accounted for. During their (the NDC) four years in office, the government in every year added GH˘6 billion to our public debt. One will ask what they used the GH˘ 6 billion for. If Ghanaians are to pay this money, each person will pay between 13 and 16 million old cedis,” he added.
Dr. Akoto Osei expressed worry about the fact that on top of the mounting debt, Ghanaians are again facing erratic power supply occasioned by the incompetent administration of the NDC.
“After all this, ‘dumso, dumso’ is what Ghanaians are experiencing. They (the NDC) forced President Kufuor to join HIPC due to the bad economy left by ex-President Rawlings. We don’t want to join the HIPC nations again but we are there now. The Minister of Finance is now in China to solicit for loan whiles government will be drafting their budget. Are they going for the loan to draft Ghana’s budget or what?” he asked.
“If caution is not taken, Ghana will be in a bad state. We then have to pay debts with any money that comes into the national coffers and the country will never develop,” he warned.
He also alleged that the office of the president under the tenure of the late President Mill, disbursed over GH˘600 million cedis under the watchful eyes of Tony Aidoo who was then monitoring affairs at the presidency.
“Tony Aidoo…claims to be the head of policy monitoring and evaluation at the presidency; what did he do when all this money was spent? What is the main use of the office of the president? GH˘600 million which is almost and above the budge of the then administration was spent without any form of accountability. That money, I think, is what they used for their campaign,” he stated.
Dr. Akoto further hinted that the finance committee in parliament would query the presidency on how the monies were dispensed.
“We will call the chief of staff to explain into detail how they used the money. And they (the NDC) must account to Ghanaians who are the tax payers,” he stressed.
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