Many have questioned the government’s abilities to fund its many flagship policies which according to them, are aimed at improving Ghana’s economy and making life better for the ordinary Ghanaian.
The “over-the-head” policies have given Ghanaians reasons to question policymakers on whether or not they are mortgaging the future of Ghana’s fiscal stability by investing in these high expenditure projects.
Some have argued that such expenditure could put the country at a risk of leaning on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial bailout.
The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in responding to those assertions has assured Ghanaians that investing in his free SHS, One district one factory, one village one dam among others, is in no way mortgaging the country’s future.
Speaking at the media encounter organised to mark his first year in office, the president said “we don’t think we are mortgaging the future at all.”
“If there had been more discipline to the management of the public finances, we would not have had recourse to the IMF in 2013 like we did,” he said.
The president said to ensure that the country is not forced to go for an IMF bailout, his government is prepared to exercise fiscal discipline.
“Discipline is the not what the IMF should teach us. We are capable of imposing that discipline on ourselves,” he assured.
According to Nana Addo, his government has fairly and clearly outlined the various strategies and policies that would place the country at a satisfactory position.
“A large part of it is the monitoring and fiscal discipline that this government has been able to exhibit and that would continue.
“That is the only way these additional expenditures that are important would be made for the development of the country… I cannot make a commitment like I have made and just leave in the air,” he added.
Protecting the Country’s Purse
At the event, the president stated that his government had saved about Gh?5.7 billion from road contracts that were awarded under the John Mahama administration.
This he said, “…shows the validity of our criticism, that so much of contracts awarded in the Mahama era were inflated and apparently in some cases non-existent.”
The president therefore promised to do all in his capacity to protect the public purse and ensure that funds are not mismanaged.
“Those who have done honest work and have honest rates for the government will get paid and paid on time, so their profits do not get swallowed up in bank interest and thereby threatening the collapse of their businesses,” Nana Addo assured.
Giving figures to back his claims of prudent financial management in the first year, the President mentioned that, in the year 2016, the Public Procurement Authority had 622 sole source requests. 577 of that number amounting to 98 per cent were approved and 25 rejected.
“There were 592 requests made for restricted tenders, of which 587, which is 99.15 per cent, were approved with five rejections. A grand total of zero savings was made through the procurement process.”
Juxtaposing the figures, he said, “In 2017, our first year in government, 394 sole sourcing requests were made, out of which 223, that is 56.6 per cent were approved, and 171, that 43.6 per cent were rejected. There were 346 requests for restricted tenders, and 167, that is 48 per cent were approved, and 179, 52 per cent were rejected. The savings made over the year as a result, amounted to Ghc145million. As my own mathematics teacher use to say, you cannot argue with figures, and such figures surely provide the incentive to open out government procurement”.