The Member of Parliament for Ketu South, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey has criticized the government over the 2020 mid-year budget review presented to Parliament on Thursday.
Mr. Kwetey is strongly convinced that the government’s attempts to attribute the recessionary state of the economy to the impact of the COVID-19 is inexcusable.
Speaking on The Big Issue, he said the monies being spent and the request for more estimates by the Akufo-Addo-led administration is indicative that the government is failing to admit treading on dangerous economic grounds.
“It is unfortunate that our friends are hiding under the guise of COVID-19 to show amazing levels of recklessness and also engaging in plain deception of the people. To even make it worse, they are refusing to make a proper account of monies that have been given to them by the people of Ghana. COVID-19 is real, but to create the impression that it is because of the virus that is why your growth level has reached such calamitous level of 0.9% as if all other countries around us are not facing COVID-19, that even tells you the level of dubiety of our friends.”
Government projections for the 2020 financial year have largely been affected by the economic implications of the Coronavirus pandemic, but it hopes to restrategize to generate more revenue to revamp the economy.
Earlier this year, the Finance Minister announced that the government will require some GHS9.5 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation which may move the 2020 budget deficit to over seven percent.
However, at the mid-year budget presentation in Parliament on Thursday, July 23, 2020, Mr. Ofori-Atta requested a supplementary budget of GHS11. 8 billion to support the government’s expenditure for the rest of the year 2020.
This he said would assist the government in implementing various initiatives to strengthen various sectors of the economy due to the revenue shortfalls and budget deficit created by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Kwetey said the government’s use of GHS11 billion as COVID-19 expenses is outrageous.
According to him, the amount is more than the total debt stock Ghana from independence to 2009 and 10 percent more the stock from 2009 to 2016 used for other projects in the country.
He was worried over what he said was the government’s failure to even provide accounts of the components of the expenditure.
“All the claims of superiority and better managing the economy than the NDC, the numbers are now showing that they actually don’t know how to manage the economy as they claim. They have run to the IMF when others have not. Now the chicken has come home to roost. Others have faced COVID-19 but they have not rushed to IMF. They have boasted of how resilient the economy was but three weeks of lockdown, they had to lift it because they couldn’t simply sustain it. They have rushed to the IMF. They are just taking advantage of COVID-19 to simply engage in recklessness. How do you now tell the country that because of the pandemic you now have COVID-19 related expenditure of 11.1 billion?”