The Minority in Parliament has said it foresees former President John Mahama inheriting from the Akufo-Addo government, a debt-riddled economy that would be largely dependent on borrowing in 2021 considering the Expenditure in Advance of Appropriation budget presented to the legislature by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, 28 October 2020.
Mr Ofori-Atta, in his presentation, asked Parliament to approve, by resolution, “the withdrawal of the sum of GHS27,434,180,520.00 from the Consolidated Fund” for the first quarter of 2021.
“This is for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the government in respect of the period expiring three months from the beginning of the financial year or on the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act in respect of the 2021 financial year”, he said.
The Expenditure in Advance of Appropriation is a standard practice rolled out in election years to prevent transitional challenges in the smooth running of government for the first three months in the year after elections.
Speaking to journalists right after Mr Ofori-Atta’s presentation, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said: “Conspicuously lost in his presentation is a report on the performance of the Ghanaian economy to give us the real state of the economy, including the performance of the first quarter, second quarter and third quarter”.
“We needed to have an appreciation of how revenue has fared with COVID and how revenue will fare tomorrow without COVID or with COVID? How has growth fared with COVID and how will growth fare?” he noted.
“You noticed that he avoided even sharing with the Ghanaian people what the true state of the economy is.
“We needed to have an understanding of the state of the economy then we know what His Excellency John Dramani Mahama will inherit: It will be a fractured, fragile economy dependent on debt and borrowing”, the Tamale South MP said.
According to him, Mr Ofori-Atta “himself hinted that they will be borrowing, through a sovereign bond, 3 to 5 billion”, adding: “It is only this Minister of Finance who celebrates borrowing, as if that can generate growth and prosperity”.
He said: “Our debt-to-GDP by the IMF’s latest report is 74.6 per cent and even into 2021, they project that it will only fall to 70 per cent”.
“That means we are a debt-distressed country: we’ll pay more on interest in servicing debt”, Mr Iddrisu said.
In his estimation, “borrowing cannot improve the quality of life for Ghanaians and borrowing cannot be the source of prosperity for the Ghanaian”.
“You noticed that his own people didn’t cheer him on. All is not well at all”, the Minority Leader said.