Ahead of the upcoming mid-year budget review and supplementary estimates to be presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister, his ‘opposition’ counterpart Mr. Seth Terkper(fmr Finance Minister) has at a press conference over the weekend cautioned government to come clean this time by correcting what he described as the parallels or differentiations in the Government of Ghana’s(GoG) financial figures presented to Parliament vis-avis the actuals captured by the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and other reputable international financial institutions.
Mr. Terkper in his analysis indicated for example that government’s Fiscal Balance out look as reported this year 2020 including energy and bailout costs stood at 4.7% whilst the IMF stated a 7.0% and it’s Rapid Credit Facility(RCF) unit for the COVID also recording around 9.5%.
On the Public Debt, excluding Exceptional Costs(ie bank bailout & energy cost), the former Finance Minister indicated that GoG’s own debt report for 2020 is around 57% to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) whilst the IMF stated 60% the IMF/RCF also recorded around 65% to the GDP.
Again, on Public Debt including Exceptional Costs he stated that the GoG put out 60% in Sept. 2019 and around 62% in GoG’s own 2020 debt report whilst the IMF also recorded around 62% for 2020 the IMF/RCF stated around 68%.
On the back of the figures he mentioned above the former Finance Minister urged the Present Minister for Finance to present to Ghanaians the true deficit without treating some of the exceptional cost like COVID as footnotes or appendix.
He said, “COVID is like bail out and it even has revenue so show everything don’t treat it as footnote or appendix that is all we are saying. Fitch already said our debt will be above 70% and our deficit will be close to 10% according to IMF so government has got to come clean and tell Ghanaians the truth because we are adults and there are experts amongst us too.”
“Government shouldn’t be hiding figures because now the international organizations know, so that as hopeful as we are in the next administration, whatever we will inherit would have been disclosed already so that we would not have to be doing calculations and telling the country that we are HIPC. So if you are going to pass on any problem please show it as other governments have done in the past”, Mr. Terkper stressed.
Again, he noted saying; “because they did not make disclosure for full expenditures that is why they are falling on bank of Ghana for cover for no Covid cost because the money they have got for Covid is more than what they went to Parliament to say it will cost government and therefore if its more than what you requested for then what else are you asking BoG to pay for whilst even deferring current payments”