General News of 2014-01-17

Gov't denies spending GH¢2.8 billion to project Mahama in 2012

Government has described as "totally false" the claim by Minority Leader to the effect that GH¢ 2.8 billion was sank into the 2012 campaign of President John Dramani Mahama.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on Thursday told Myjoyonline.com that, an amount of GH¢ 2.8 billion was “embezzled” to project the candidature of John Mahama ahead of the elections.

"...Because of that even statutory commitment could not be met. For nine months they couldn't transfer monies into the District Assemblies Common Fund, to GETFund, monies that were meant for road fund were taken away. Health Insurance, they couldn't pay for ten months," the Minority Leader stated.

But government, in a statement issued Friday by deputy Information Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu, said it regrets the fact that the Minority Leader "....chose to dabble in anti-government propaganda of the most undesirable kind when attributing the budget deficit of 2012 to embezzlement during the electioneering campaign that year".

Below is the full statement

For Immediate Release

RE: GH ¢2.8 billion "embezzled" to project Mahama in 2012 - Minority Leader

Government has noted an allegation made by Hon. Osei Kyei Mensa Bonsu, Minority Leader in Parliament in an interview with myjoyonline.com, to the effect that an amount of GH¢2.8 billion was “embezzled” or sank into the 2012 campaign of President John Dramani Mahama.

Government wishes to point out that Mr Mensa Bonsu’s claims are totally false and regrets the fact that in spite of his unimpeded access to information on the economy as Minority leader, he chose to dabble in anti-government propaganda of the most undesirable kind when attributing the budget deficit of 2012 to embezzlement during the electioneering campaign that year.

The 2013 Budget which was debated and passed by the Parliament of Ghana clearly outlined and quantified the causes of the fiscal slippage in 2012. For the avoidance of doubt we wish to reiterate that the factors that accounted for the excess deficit in 2012 are as follows:

(a) Higher wages and wage arrears payments under the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure-GH¢ 1,909 million(or 2.6 % of GDP)

(b) Shortfall in corporate income taxes from petroleum sector-GH¢ 708.2million(0.5% of GDP)

(c) High interest cost burden arising from a steep rise in short term domestic interest rates-GH¢ 245million(0.3% of GDP)

(d) Shortfall in grants from donors-GH¢ 389.4 million(0.5% of GDP)

(e) Higher subsidies on utilities and petroleum products-GH¢ 339million(0.5% of GDP)

(f) Higher spending on goods and services-GH¢ 354million(0.5% of GDP)

More importantly, Mr Kyei Mensa Bonsu is fully aware that in view of the above, government has adopted measures aimed at ensuring a reduction in the budget deficit and also to inject greater prudence in public expenditure. Notable among these measures is the implementation of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS).

While Mr Kyei Mensa Bonsu’s outburst appears to be the latest installment in a series of malicious falsehoods hurled at President Mahama and his government as a way of giving the NPP some perceived political advantage, government is unfazed and remains focused on delivering on the overwhelming mandate given it by the people of Ghana in the 2012 elections.

FELIX KWAKYE OFOSU

DEPUTY MINISTER FOR INFORMATION AND MEDIA RELATIONS

(January, 17th 2014)