Economist and a member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah has warned that Ghana may not witness economic progress from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the quarter of 2017.
Dr. Assibey-Yeboah said Ghana would undergo a serious economic challenges come January 1 to March 31, 2017, that might cripple government’s ability to supply relief to the poor who depends on social intervention programs for their daily necessities.
“Ghana would be in a state of economic hopelessness if one do a thorough analysis on the paper on Expenditure in Advance of Appropriation, January to March, 2017, presented to Parliament on Thursday, October 2016 by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper,” he said.
The Economist made this observation during the debate on the report of the Finance Committee on Expenditure in Advance of Appropriation, January to March, 2017, on the floor of Parliament. According to the documents presented to the Legislature by the Finance Minister, the former British colony is expected to spend GH?10,999, 108,191 during the stipulated three months period.
The Economic Analyses
In the aforementioned period, the government is projected to raise or collect total revenue of GH?8,988,080,585 from tax and non-tax revenue sources.
The deficit of GH?2,011,027,606 is expected to be sourced from both domestic borrowing and external financing including project and program loans. GH?10,999,108,191 is expected to be spent on compensation of employees, goods and service, capital expenditure, interest payment, grants to other government units, non-road arrears, tax refunds and amortization.
Out of this amount, GH?3,881,345,637 is expected to be spent on compensation of employees while GH?164,220,432 would be spent on goods and services during the stipulated period.
In the capital expenditure category, an amount of GH?1,251,883,521 is expected to be sent while GH?1,889,870,741 is expected to be spent on interest payment.
Furthermore, an amount of GH?2,368,676,114 would be spent on Grants to other government units, with GH?518,456,296 estimated to be spent on Non-Road arrears. GH?151,078,450 and GH?773,577,000 are expected to be spent on tax refunds and amortization during the stipulated period respectively.
Dr. Assibey-Yeboah said it’s even more disturbing to know that GH?1,889,870,741 will be used in financing interest payment as well as amortization amount of GH?773,577,000.
“Mr. Speaker, in the first three months we will be making interest payment of GHC1.9bn, why do we saddle the next president with such a burden? It is because as of December 2008, our total debt was GH?9.5billion. Where are we now? As at now our debt has crossed GHC100bn. Mr. Speaker, in eight years we’ve moved from GH?9.5billion to over GH?110billion and that is why we are going to pay GH?1.5billion in interest payment in the first three months of the year.”
He stated that non-road arrears for the first quarter are GH?518million, adding that these non road arrears have been on government books prior to 2016. Hence Assibey-Yeboah lamented that the next President Akufo-Addo who has not committed to borrowing come to office and will burden him with these arrears.
He told Mr. Speaker that what is going into capital expenditure is GH?1.25billion and the President is going about touting his achievement.
“On the one hand they are telling us they are building infrastructure but tell us how much is going into infrastructure for the first three months. Nothing is going into job creation. What you are telling the Ghanaian people is that in the first three months you are not concerned about jobs,” the doctor said.
Dr. Assibey-Yeboah reiterated that what the country faces now, is nothing short of economic hopelessness.
“So clearly what we have before us is nothing but a State of economic hopelessness. After eight years, one would have expected that at least the next three years from 2017 would have presented us a signal as to what direction we are going.”