The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday requested Parliament to approve the withdrawal of GH¢27.434 billion from the Consolidated Fund, which the Ministry has appropriated to finance state expenditure from January to March 2021.
The approval is for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of Government in respect of the period expiring three months of the Financial Year or on the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act in respect of 2021 Financial Year.
“Right Honourable Speaker, in accordance with Article 180 of the 1992 Constitution….I beg to move that this Honourable House approves by resolution the withdrawal of the sum of Twenty-Seven Billion, Four Hundred and Thirty Four Million, One Hundred and Eighty Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty Ghana Cedis (GH¢27,434,180,520) from the Consolidated Fund,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
“This is for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of Government in respect of the period expiring three months of the Financial Year or on the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act in respect of 2021 Financial Year.”
His request, he said, was also in line with Section 23 of the Public Financial Management Act (PFM), 2016 (Act 921).
He recalled that when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took office in 2017, it was with a task of turning the economy around and had the courage to implement a GH¢100 billion CARES (Obaatanpa) programme.
He commended the “diligent and disciplined pursuit of the innovative policies has restored macroeconomic stability, promoted inclusive growth and transformed lives of millions of Ghanaians, with result that some 1.2 million Ghanaians are in Senior High School.
The nation, he said, is also exporting food through the Planting for Food and Jobs programme and 1D1F is generating jobs, with success of focused macroeconomic stabilisation and fiscal consolidation programme is evidenced by an average economic growth rate of 7.0 per cent between 2017 and 2019 as compared with 2.8 per cent between 2014 and 2016.
The Minister said inflation was also from 15.4 per cent at end-December 2016 to 7.9 per cent by the end-December 2019; the lowest since the Fourth Republic in 1992.
It has also maintained an average fiscal balance of below five per cent of GDP between 2017 and 2019 as compared to an average of 6.3 per cent in 2014 and 2016, while improving gross international reserves to reach $8.6 billion or about four months of import cover by February 2020 as compared to 3.5 months of import cover in 2016.
The Minister said Ghana was also successfully exiting the IMF-ECF programme in April 2019, which had been completely derailed by 2016.
“Indeed, in dollar terms, the former President took an economy that was $64 billion in 2013 and shrunk it down to $55 billion in 2016. This means that after four years in office, the Mahama administration managed to achieve an unenviable record of reducing the Ghanaian Economy by nearly $10 billion.”
Mr Ofori-Atta observed that in “2001, Ghana had no choice but to swallow her pride and to sign up to the HIPC initiative, a legacy left by the out-going NDC government. Thankfully, President J.A. Kufuor got us to completion point in record time and came out of HIPC.”
However, by 2014, the Minister said: “Barely two years in office, President Mahama’s home-grown economic policy had failed and Ghana signed up once again onto an IMF programme. The Akufo-Addo Government took Ghana out of the IMF Programme in record time.”
“Ironically, those who mismanage the economy for us to come and fix it are the one’s wishing Ghana ill. My message to them is this; there is no turning back. HIPC is behind us. Economic mismanagement is behind us.”
The Minister said the Ghanaian economy was stronger today than it was four years ago, and would continue to grow stronger, by God’s help.