President Nana Akufo-Addo has revealed that Ghana missed nearly all targets set for the country under the International Monetary Fund(IMF) Extended Credit Facility program of US$918 million .
According to him, government missed the targets due to financial and fiscal indiscipline in the management of public funds.
Delivering his first State of the Nation Address in Parliament, President Akufo-Addo blamed the erstwhile John Mahama administration for expending beyond the budget, after it experienced a similar budget overrun in the 2012 election year.
He stated for example that government missed a budget deficit target of 5.3 percent to 9 percent in 2016.
“The previous government promised Ghanaians that the reckless public expenditure that characterized the 2012 election year would not be repeated in 2016. Mr. Speaker, the promises to the Ghanaian people were however not kept. In fact, virtually all the targets under the IMF programme as at December 2016 have been missed. Fiscal indiscipline once again reared its head in the 2016 election year”, he said.
He disclosed that, total projected expenditure for 2016 was GHS43.9 billion, representing 26 percent of GDP, but actual expenditure amounted to GHS 50.3 billion, representing 30.2 percent of the GDP.
“The full facts of the situation have not been put before the Ghanaian people, it appears from what we are finding out that some GHS7billion of arrears and outstanding payments were circumvented by the very public financial management system that was put in place to prevent such occurrences,” he added.
He assured that the expenditures are currently being audited to ascertain how the public funds were used.
President Akufo-Addo further disclosed that, revenue performance was poor, with the actual target at 33.2 billion, representing 19.9 percent of GDP, while the targeted revenue was 39.9 billion, representing 22.7 percent in 2016.
He stated that, the country’s debt as a percentage of the GDP has also hit 74 percent, representing GHS122 billion.
Economy won’t collapse under my watch – Nana Addo
President Nana Akufo-Addo however stated that, he will not allow Ghana’s economy to collapse under his watch, despite inheriting a challenging economy from the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
The President revealed that, the “reality of Ghana’s finances are quite stark as a result of policy choices.” According to him, “we find ourselves in the situation where Ghana’s total revenue is consumed by three main budgetary lines. Wages and salaries, interest and payments and amortisation and statutory payments.”
These three items alone, according to him, account for 99.6 % of Ghana’s revenue.
By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana