Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah
The majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament has responded swiftly to the minority’s claim that Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia had lied on a GH¢7 billion expenditure made by the past NDC government which was not disclosed to the present government.
“We wish to note that the GH¢7 billion the vice president, Dr Bawumia is talking about is a result of a major initiative or reform on the government contracts and expenditures which is part of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) project that the new administration is expected to continue implementing,” the minority said at a press conference on Wednesday, stressing that the new government is expected to inherit all liabilities of the past government as the National Democratic Congress did when it inherited GH¢9 billion in 2009 from the then NPP government.
But the majority, at a press conference yesterday addressed by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, said by their own statement, the NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) had agreed that the GH¢7 billion expenditure, which had been kept out of the purview of the books of government, constituted real expenditures that had been undertaken.
He said the admission by the minority is very sad and that it depicts a team that was grossly unaware of the extent to which the nation’s books may have been cooked to provide a false sense of good economic management and to deceive investors.
“What is more worrying is that the former Deputy Finance Minister, Ato Forson, who addressed the press conference, attributed the arrears accumulating to reforms underway and the way in which data is captured. What the former deputy minister described as ‘creative accounting management’ is unethical and dangerous,” Mr Assibey-Yeboah stressed.
According to the Finance Committee Chairman, the IMF stands in a better position to make some of these issues clear since the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is still underway
“As to whether this represents a breach of the ECF programme conditionalities, we will know by the end of next week when the Mission Chief is expected to brief donors on his findings,” Dr Assibey-Yeboah said.
He further explained that the position of Vice President Bawumia was that the arrears in question were uncovered in the process of interrogating data that was made available to the NPP government.
“What is deeply worrying in the revelation is that the said arrears covered the period 2014 to 2016, the span during which negotiations of the current Extended Credit Facility programme with the IMF began,” Mr Assibey-Yeboah said, adding that on the face of the reality that the arrears date back to 2014, then it could be suggested that when the NDC government entered into negotiations with the IMF, full disclosure of data was not made available to the IMF, which raises a serious question on the integrity of data the NDC government was putting out over the past eight years.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr