July 21, 2011

The Minority in Parliament on Thursday cautioned the government against its excessive borrowing culture because of the adverse fiscal consequences on Ghana’s economy.

The Minority made the call during a debate in Parliament on Thursday to approve GHC1, 463,123,559.00 as supplementary budget for the 2011 financial year.

The debate, which was characteristic by heckling, went into several hours as each of the 10 Members of Parliament (MPs) (five from the Majority and five from the Minority) over ran the eight minutes allotted to them.

Dr Osei Akoto, MP for Old Tafo, who led the Minority in the debate said: “ At the rate of borrowing, interest rates will go high. I am surprise that government is complaining that interest rates are high.”

He said more arrears would accumulate when the Single Spine Salary Scheme was fully operational.

Dr Akoto said within a period of two years the National Democratic Congress Government (NDC) has accrued a debt of more than what the New Patriotic Party (NPP) left within a period of eight years.

He said the NDC within two years of administering the country had accrued a debt of GHC 1.5 billion in 2009 alone, which according to him was 1.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

Dr Akoto accused the NDC of mismanaging the oil revenue by spending the revenue instead of depositing it in the stabilization fund as demanded by the Petroleum Revenue Act.

Mr Moses Asaga, NDC MP for Nabdam, said the government had made strides in the macro-economic indicators, which according to him were signs of a Well-managed economy.

He said: “Government must be applauded for the maintaining single digit inflation”.

Mr Asaga said within the two years of NDC administration, the country’s interest rates had drastically fallen and called on the House to commend the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning for a good work done.

He said government was very transparent in the management of petroleum revenue, which was unprecedented in Africa, adding that it took Norway about 15 years to get to where Ghana had reached in managing petrol revenue.

Mr Asaga said that the Minister should be praised for using oil revenue in the development of sectors such as road, modernization of agriculture and economic infrastructure was commendable.

Mr Kweku Agyemang-Manu, NPP MP for Dormaa West, said government had a lean commitment to the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority, stating that as at now only 8 million dollars had been committed to the project out of the 25 million dollars promised.

Mr Cletus Avoka, the Majority Leader in Parliament, said the government must be commended for increasing revenue but called for the automation of revenue collection across the country to seal leakages and corruption.

He said the allocation of GHC 50 million to the Electoral Commission would enhance transparency in the electoral process and deepen Ghana’s democracy.

Mr Avoka noted that most African countries were ravaged by crises because of election problems

The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, rounding up the debate, said the economy was in good hands and called on the MPs to approve the supplementary budget.

The House again approved a loan agreement between Ghana and the Deutsche Bank AG of New York, USA, for an amount of US$ 267,000,000.00 to finance the supply and installation of medical equipment for selected health institutions nationwide.

Parliament also endorsed the loan agreement between the Government of the Ghana and the Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited for an amount of Ghana cedi equivalent of US$ 39 million to finance the completion of the State House Project (Job 600) to provide offices for MPs.

Source: GNA