Ghana’s Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has accused the government of planning to massage figures in the upcoming election-year budget to be presented in Parliament on Wednesday, 13 November 2019.
According to the Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will manufacture figures to deceive Ghanaians into thinking that the economy is healthy.
“We know that the Finance Minister is preparing to come to Parliament with some … massaged numbers in order to justify that he is doing well,” he alleged.
He said the Akufo-Addo government “is quick to disrespect” known values and laws such as the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (PFMA) and the Fiscal Responsibility Act and, thus, asked Ghanaians to be vigilant and hold the government accountable.
The opposition lawmaker was of the view that there are some acts of mismanagement undertaken by the Akufo-Addo-led administration, “including numbers that are being hidden from donors, from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Ghanaian public, which will allow him (the Finance Minister) to have cooked numbers in order to justify the deficit he wants to sell to the Ghanaian people”.
Just a couple of weeks ago, former President John Mahama accused Mr Ofori-Atta of making payments outside the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) so he can hide, what he (Mr Mahama) claims to be the true state of the economy.
The computerised GIFMIS facilitates budget preparation and execution; accounting and financial reporting; cash management, assets management, as well as human resource and payroll management.
Speaking to party leaders and supporters of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the UK on Sunday, 27 October 2019, Mr Mahama said the Finance Minister and the Akufo-Addo government are hiding several things so they can paint a fine picture of the economy.
“There are many things that are going on; the economy is painted as being very rosy, various figures are being thrown about just to show that the economy is doing better but there are a lot of things the government is hiding from you.
“They are showing you a better balance sheet because they are misclassifying a lot of things and hiding things from the budget; they are making payments outside the GIFMIS”, he alleged.
The GIFMIS, he explained, “Was introduced, in our time, in order that we shall show transparency in the state of the economy and the implementation of the budget. So, every payment is supposed to go on the GISMIS platform”.
“You should ask the Finance Minister: why is he paying things outside the GIFMIS platform? It’s because he does not want to capture it on the platform because it will distort his deficit figure”, the 2020 flag bearer of the NDC asserted.
“So, he [Mr Ofori-Atta] says his deficit is 3.9 per cent but his deficit is above 7 per cent – 7.3 per cent – if you add all the things he is hiding outside the budget”, Mr Mahama told his audience, adding: “The cost of the financial clearance, GHS20 billion, it’s sitting and breathing; has he captured it in the budget? He hasn’t. We’re waiting for the budget on November 14 to see what he’ll include and what he will exclude and then we’ll see what the deficit is”.