Senior Minister, Hon Yaw Osafo-Maafo has strongly asserted that the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama-led government was not truthful in its dealings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by "misreporting" a Ghc 7billion arrears; thus backing claims by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia that the NDC hid vital figures from the international financial institution.
According to him, the previous administration engaged in what is termed as "a dignified way of telling lies" to the World Bank and IMF, which could come with punitive measures, just as it was done to the Rawlings led administration.
“If the right information isn’t sent to IMF it is called misreporting not under reporting. It is a dignified way to tell the world that you have told a lie to the World Bank and IMF and it comes with a fine. Ghana has been fined 39.5 million”, he told Kwami Sefa Kayi; alluding to events in 2001 where the IMF slapped a $39million fine on Ghana for misrepresenting the state of the economy.
That particular penalty was over misinformation made by the previous government of Jerry John Rawlings for the period August 21 to December 31, 2000.
The Senior Minister was however emphatic that the revelations surrounding the money drawn from state coffers, is not to undermine the past goverment by claiming they have stolen state money.
“No one has stolen money from the state but the GHC7 billion expenditure drawn from state coffers is money that we (Ghana) have incurred and it is going to affect our deficit. Every unpaid debt remains a debt and we must make allowance for the payment of it,” he pointed out.
The Minority Caucus in Parliament, on Wednesday challenged Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia’s claim that the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government did not account for a GHC7 billion expenditure drawn from state coffers between 2014 and 2016.
They believed the Second Gentleman of the land was still in a campaign mood and had not yet come to the realization that his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is now in power.
Addressing a gathering at the Launch of the "Good Corporate Governance Initiative" at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra earlier in the week, Dr Bawumia noted that Ghana's economy could not thrive well without a proper economic data on the country's revenues and expenditure.
According to him, as the new government makes preparation of the budget for the 2017 fiscal year vis-a-vis the interrogation of data on the previous government’s expenditure, they discovered an unaccounted Ghc7 billion.
Dr. Bawumia shockingly disclosed that as the government "interrogated the data to see exactly why our public finances are in the state they are, we found out that there is GHC 7 billion of expenditures that have not been disclosed. And I'm talking 7 billion [so] in the year 2016 and these come from 2014, 2015, 2016."
"So, where have they been hiding all these years and how are you supposed to manage an economy with faulty data?" he rhetorically asked.
Rebutting the Vice-President's assertions, the Minority claimed the GHC7 billion was used for "part of the contract database and outstanding commitment, and did not constitute the conventional definition of arrears.
The government is obliged to incorporate the commitments, as a first charge on the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA’s) budget 2017. The framework is also covered in the new Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, under the Budget Responsibility provisions.”
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.
They therefore accused Dr Bawumia of lying and cautioned him against "rushing with information to the public" instead "taking time to understand" reforms and initiatives.
“....stop the lies and get back to work in order to redeem the mountain of promises made to Ghanaians during the 2016 electioneering campaign....We are displeased by the tendency of the Vice President to rush with information to the public and the media particularly the structural measures and reforms without taking time to understand the rational for the reforms and initiatives,” former Deputy Finance Minister and a Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako Enyan Essiam Consistency in the Central Region, Hon. Cassiel Ato Baah Forson who addressed the press said.
Barely 24hours after the Minority's press conference, the Majority countered and wholly backed Dr Bawumia's claims and warned that the failure of the previous Mahama-led government to account for GH7 billion expenditure could result in punitive action against the country by the International Monetary Fund.
Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo, then wades in the fray insisting that the previous administration ‘lied’ to the IMF about Ghana’s economy.
Hon. Maafo, who was the co-chair of the Transition Team, in an interview on Peacefm’s Kokrooko Show revealed that the new NPP administration were able to trace that GHC7 billion has drawn from state coffers by going through the books of the Ministry of Finance and Controller and Accountant General.
As co-chair of the team that supervised the seamless transition of power from the NDC to NPP, Hon. Osafo Marfo makes it clears that he was privy to firsthand documents that backed claims by Vice President Dr. Bawumia that the NDC left a hefty hole in government account.
“We have seen figures that differ from what they gave to the transition team. It is not true they gave the figures to the transition team…I am the co-chair. These figures we are bringing out were not given to us by our counterparts during the transition.”
He further said “the GHC7 billion (representing arrears and commitments) we are seeing now is misreporting. It was exposed when we went through the figures one by one during the detail analysis”.
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