‘Akufo-Addo Running Down Economy With Off-Budget Activities’

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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has been charged to use the mid-year budget review and supplementary budget to improve revenue mobilization.

The call comes on the back of expectation that the Minister will on 29th July 2019 present the mid-year review budget to Parliament.

The presentation was postponed last week due to unforeseen circumstances but Parliament is expected to reschedule the Minister to appear next Monday.

A member of the Finance Committee and MP for Ho Central, Benjamin Komla Kpodo, told Ghanacrusader.com the revenue challenge is due to government’s engagement in unnecessary and off-budget activities.

He argued government decision to, for instance, grant tax waivers to companies that have been in existence over five years under the guise of One District One Factory (1D1F) is a reason for the dwindling national revenue.

“We are granting tax waivers to companies that have been existence since 2011. One company got GH¢1.199 million in tax waivers while another got GH¢92,000.”

“These are grossly unnecessary and the Minister is complaining about dwindling revenues.”

Mr. Kpodo warned government may also have to be discreet with its borrowing in order not to escalate the fiscal deficit, especially with recent announcement that Ghana’s debt stock has hit GH¢200 billion.

“The World Bank and IMF have drawn attention of government to all these. We are now a high-risk indebted nation so we have to pay high insurance premium for the loans that we are contracting.”

“We are in dire straits and government has to organize itself and avoid the unbridled borrowing otherwise we may have to return to the World Bank as a highly indebted poor country.”

He accused the Finance Minister of running down the finances of the nation with massive off-budget activities that do not address fundamental issues to deliver the economy from the doldrums.

He cited expenditures on the Nation Builders’ Corps as a wasteful venture because it is not productive and yet money is earmarked for it.

He said, “The Minority agrees it is necessary to have free education but not in the manner it is being delivered hence the implementation difficulties.”

“But government is harnessing funds everywhere for it: funds meant for roads, health insurance the Common Fund and others are being capped towards this, which is not the main reasons for creating these funds.”

“These are the issues the Finance Minister should be addressing; the failure to meet revenue targets, the high expenditures arising out of off-budget activities and the massive borrowing,” he stated.

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