Accra, July 29, GNA – The minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said Government is not being factual with the claim on increasing expenditure on infrastructure development.
They said the reality was that the country’s expenditure on infrastructure relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is declining.
“The numbers indicate that relative to GDP, this government is investing about half what the previous government invested in infrastructure,” Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, told journalists at a news conference in Parliament, in Accra.
“It is in fact a travesty that Ghana before the discovery of oil was spending a higher proportion of its income on infrastructure investment than after the discovery of oil and the massive increase in debt stock.
“This decline in investment in infrastructure runs counter to what one would expected,” the NPP said.
Mr Seth Emmanuel Terpker, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning last Monday requested Parliament to approve GH₵1.8 billion to supplement the 2016 budget, due to recent developments in both domestic and global markets.
He said Ghana’s economy has turnaround with the prospects looking very bright despite the few challenges.
The success, he noted, was a result of the country’s “Home Grown” policies which were designed to achieve fiscal consolidation; address short-term vulnerabilities; reduce a high budget deficit that had become harmful to the private sector; as well as stabilize and reverse the rise in public debt.
“Mr Speaker, we are on course to achieve these goals through the management of prudent fiscal, financial, sectoral and monetary policies”, Mr Terkper said.
For instance, he said, fiscal data up to end-December 2015 shows that total revenue and grants were higher than the budget targets by 5 per cent.
The overrun in total expenditure including arrears, he added, narrowed to 2.1 per cent above target.
“These performances resulted in a cash budget of 6.3 per cent of GDP, much better than the budget target of 7.3 per cent and 10.2 per cent in 2014. Indeed, at 0.2 per cent of GDP at the end of 2015, the primary budget balance that shows our ability to service loans for development was a surplus for the first time in over a decade. GDP also grew by 3.9 per cent at end-2015, better than the projected 3.5 per cent”, he said.
He added: “It is getting better with the economy growing by 4.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, compared to 4.5 per cent for the same period in 2015. In spite of unanticipated shortfalls in price and production of crude oil, GDP growth is projected to end the year at 4.1 per cent or better”.
The Finance Minister said under no circumstances will Ghana become a Highly Indebtedness Poor Country (HIPC) again considering the rate at which the economy is recovering.
However, the NPP said government has hoodwinked Ghanaians and has not come clean on fiscal data, because the evidence adduced from the current debt stock has exposed government’s propaganda on spending so much on infrastructure.
“The evidence shows that notwithstanding the massive increase in the debt stock, capital expenditure as percentage of GDP has actually been on the decline from 9.1 per cent of GDP in 2008 to 4.1 per cent by 2015.
”Capital expenditure as a percentage of GDP averaged 11 per cent for 2001to 2008 without oil while that for 2009-t 2015 has averaged 5.7 per cent with oil,” Dr Osei said.
He touched the energy crisis, saying the problem had lingered for too long and was even getting worse perpetrated by generation shortfalls, corrupt procurement inefficiencies and unsustainable debts.
‘It is now clear that President Mahama has failed to end “dumsor”, blamed it on Nigeria, and publicly stopped ECG from publishing a “dumsor” timetable to allow for planning by industry and businesses contrary to law.