Former President John Dramani Mahama has accused the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta of manipulating macroeconomic data just to trick the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and rating agencies.
He contended that the Finance Minister has for the past four years been suppressing figures to hide the true state of the economy and to deceive Ghanaians, investors and the international community.
“The IMF has been a bit hypocritical in all these, because the signals have been there. It’s not today that we’ve raised the issue about the finance minister cooking the books. He’s been cooking the books over the last four years. What he does is, he gives out some big tickets budget items and puts them as footnotes so that he can get a better fiscal report to give to the international community.
“He’s used it to fool the IMF, He’s used it to fool Moody’s, Fitch and all the rating agencies, he’s used to fool the economist intelligence unit, all of them, by giving a rosy picture that they’re better economic managers,” he said in an interview with TV XYZ on Friday.
According to him, the NPP ought to have done better given the amount of resources his administration bequeathed to the Akufo-Addo administration.
“We managed this economy with one Oil field – the Jubilee field if you’ll remember, and the time we were leaving office we’d completed two more oil fields that virtually tripled revenues from Oil. I mean with that kind of extra revenue one could just imagine what they could have done in terms of transforming the economy. But we’ve not been able to…I mean you can see everywhere there is nothing to show for it.
“Their only claim to this is Free SHS, and so Free SHS is being funded from Oil revenues. But aside from that there is nothing to show for it.”
The global pandemic shock has exacerbated Ghana’s already-weak public finances.
The government presented a revised 2020 budget in July as part of its Mid-Year Budget Review (MYBR), which contained an additional GH?11 billion (3% of forecast 2020 GDP) in COVID-19 related expenditure.
It also forecast domestic financing costs to rise by approximately 2% of GDP. The revised budget was approved by Parliament along with the government’s request to suspend the fiscal rules contained in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2018, which includes a fiscal deficit ceiling of 5% of GDP.
Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ghana’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B’ with a Stable Outlook.