The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bolgatanga Central Constituency in the Upper East Region, Mr Isaac Adongo has pledged the support of the Minority in Parliament to find the appropriate solution to deal with the GH¢9.5 billion financial deficit on the public purse created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to assure the Finance Minister that we are all together in the fight to find that solution. All the technical brains of finance within the NDC fraternity stand shoulder to shoulder with the Finance Minister to find an appropriate solution to deal with this problem.”
Speaking at a media launch against COVID-19 in the Bolgatanga Central Constituency, the MP, who is also a member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, recalled that in 2014, “The then Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper had to deliver one of the most difficult assignments of his regime.
“He appeared before Parliament and said that as a result of the collapse of the prices of the commodities on the world market, Ghana was going to lose $700,000,000.00 even by February of the implementation year, and called on Parliament at the time and the people of Ghana to give him the support to make the changes that were required.”
Mr Adongo said “fortunately we got the support of our then minority partners in Parliament, which was the NPP, and one good turn deserves another.
“The NPP is in government and they face a similar if not a daunting challenge, we can only be hypocrites if we don’t support the Minister to achieve the same feat that they gave us in 2014.”
However, he cautioned that there was the need for holistic and transparent approach to find the solution, saying “the NDC had provided enough safety nets and buffers within the framework to deal with situations such as this.”
According to him, when the NDC government was faced with the problem, and decided to amend the Petroleum Management Act, they were careful not to touch the Heritage Fund in spite of the major difficulty.
“As a matter of fact, the idea was mooted, but the people of Ghana roundly said they didn’t want the Heritage Fund to be touched. Today the people of Ghana have spoken very loudly just like they spoke to the NDC that the Heritage Fund should not be touched.”
Mr Adongo called on the Minister of Finance to respect the opinions and views of Ghanaians on the Heritage Fund, and work closely with all stakeholders to find appropriate mechanisms that would generate the same revenue and not touch the Fund.
He said the financial architecture provided for the Stabilization Fund, and explained that the Fund was a vehicle that anticipated that in difficult times when the economy was not generating enough revenue, with shortfalls in the annual budget funding amount, government could rely on the Stabilization Fund.
“We now have three FPSO and three major oil fields and our petroleum output has tripled. We have also been fortunate that in the last two to three years prices of oil on the world market until recently has been favourable to the people of Ghana.”