THE Minority caucus in Parliament has told the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led administration to “stop the sophistry and account” for what it has used the over GH¢200 billion it received since assuming the reins of power in 2017.
According to the caucus, the government had failed to respond to its challenge to account for what it had used the money, which include a GH¢78 billion loan, for.
The Minority at a press conference last week called on the government to show what it had used the money for after adding the GH¢78 billion to the debt stock from GH¢120 billion in January 2017, pushing the national debt to GH¢198 billion as obtained in the Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Report released a fortnight ago.
But in response, the government, through the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the Minority were being mischievous with the figures and that the accumulation was partly due to old loans, some which were contracted during the NDC era, which were being disbursed and could not be termed as debts being incurred by the NPP government.
Some of the debt, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah revealed, were to finance the repayment of maturing ones and that the opposition parliamentary wing was being hypocritical with their demand.
“If there was a list of loans that add up to GH¢80 billion, you will imagine that the Minority will out that list by now. The reason for which our debt stock will show a difference of about GH¢80 billion is that the figures are nominal public debt stock and the public debt stock figure is made up of a number of things.
“[They include] old loans that are being disbursed within the tenure of this administration add up to the debt stock. It does not mean our administration has gone to borrow,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah, MP, Ofoase/Ayirebi explained to the media in Accra.
In a rebuttal, however, in Parliament yesterday, the Minority at a press conference, addressed by its spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Baah Forson said the government had failed the test.
“It is obvious that in the absence of any significant or tangible investment to despite receiving more resources than other governments, President Akufo-Addo wants to make excuses and go back on the very things he and his party said in opposition about borrowing.
“Sophistry, duplicity and plain propaganda will not explain away the truth that he [President Akufo-Addo] has underperformed despite benefitting from more resource inflows than his predecessors,” Mr Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister told the press conference.
To Mr Forson, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has not only been unable to keep his word in opposition not to borrow but “failed to prudently utilise the heavy borrowing in a manner that is sustainable or in investment that can add value to the economy”.
On its flagship programme – One Village One Dam, One District One Factory, Free Senior High School, among others – Mr Forson noted that the government had boasted about raising domestic revenues and not loans or oil revenue to fund those initiatives for “only a fraction” of the resources were invested in the ‘slogan’ projects hence the government must not hide behind the policies as areas for investment.
On the assertion by the Information Minister that some monies were borrowed to defray loans under the John Mahama led administration, Mr Forson, MP, Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam, said the claim was “most misleading and has been deliberately couched to throw dust into the eyes of unsuspecting members of the public”.
He explained that monies borrowed to replace shorter-dated maturing debt did not have any impact on the public figure adding “this figure remains the same as there is no net increase”.
“The 80 billion added to the public debt by President Akufo-Addo represents only new debt and does not include monies borrowed to refinance maturing debt,” he stressed.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI