‘Minority critique of mid-year budget illegitimate’

Mr. Kwarteng

Mr. Kwarteng

The minority in parliament’s contentions with the Akufo-Addo administration’s mid-year budget review are illegitimate, a Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, has stated.

He indicated that the minority was simply looking to find something wrong with the Finance Minister’s presentation for the sake of it to project a sense of opposition vigilance.

“It isn’t the case that anytime government presents something, you must find something wrong. If there is nothing wrong, you may keep quiet,” the minister said to the minority.

The minority at a press conference on Wednesday contended that the Akufo-Addo administration breached Financial Administration Regulation 193 by doctoring figures during its mid-year review.

Addressing the press conference, the Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, said the Minister of Finance reversed interest payments to the tune of GH¢ 758.5 million and reviewed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) without a formal Ghana Statistical Service Statement at the end of the 2016 financial year.

Responding, Mr Kwarteng explained that what they were trying to do was to take government’s revised projection to parliament and because they were all downward projections, they didn’t see the need to seek supplementary appropriation.

“We have achieved that and when we went to parliament to review the figures, we thought it wise to indicate that we have been able to reduce our interest burden to this figure. Why should anybody want to criticise that?”

In Mr Kwarteng’s view, the rumblings from the minority were simply unhelpful and brewing unhealthy tension.

“All the points that Ato Forson made, in my respectful opinion, are illegitimate points. It would appear to me that there was the need to say something and trying hard to find something to say isn’t helpful in these circumstances.
“These general suggestions of some wrongdoing and calling on parliament to investigate are politics that is unhelpful.”

“My respectful suggestion to them is that they must raise issues that would be worth debates that government can learn something from, not these respectfully illegitimate issues that do nothing but create unhealthy engagements between the minority and majority.”

“At the time we sent the budget to parliament, we did indicate that we would pay an amount for interest payments. Since then, we have done a lot of debt re-profiling.
“ We have borrowed long term at lower rates to retire old debts that carried higher rates so that our overall interest burden would be lessened,” Mr Kwarteng noted. –citifmonline.com

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