The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, has urged Ghanaians to ignore government’s promise of fixing the country’s entire road network after it declared 2020 as a year of roads.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta in delivering the 2020 budget statement hint on the government’s plan on fixing all dilapidated roads across the country in 2020 and beyond having identified what he described as “critical roads” across each of the 16 regions in Ghana.
But Ato Forson speaking on Eyewitness News accused the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of failing to take pragmatic measures to fix the poor road network in parts of the country given what he says is the manipulation of the country’s road funds.
This to him is a lie on the part of government.
“Their so-called new roads [declaration] are a hoax. Currently, the government collects monies from Excise for the purposes of fixing some of the roads. For the year 2020, the government has projected to rake in revenue of GHS 1.7million from taxes. That money is supposed to go to the road sector to fix our roads. One would have thought that once the Minister has made a bold announcement, that money must go to the road sector but you know what he did? He has only allocated an amount of GHS 1 billion and GHS 14 million to the Ghana road fund -taking GHS 700 million from road fund for consumption, how can he fix the roads? Within a period of four years, the government has reduced the road fund allocation,” he said.
Government cooking economic figures
Mr. Forson also accused the Finance Minister of cooking up figures in order to paint a good picture of the economy.
He claims that the Minister understated the deficit by over GHS 5 million. The 2020 Budget Statement captures the 2019 deficit of GHS 18.9 billion representing 4.7% of GDP.
But Forson said the figures are suspicious.
“To be honest, the economy is not well. One of the things I get worried about is the treatment of some critical items in the fiscal policy. A typical one is the treatment of the Energy sector payment. This administration has decided to adopt an unorthodox account and fiscal reporting whereas they have decided to classify that payment as amortization. What it means is that they have excluded it from the expenditure payment. That expenditure minus that revenue will give you the deficit which is understated 5.1 billion cedis. That is why I said the numbers are cooked. The fiscal deficit as the Minister is reporting is lower because of that amount.”
Sources: Emmanuel Amewugah, Daily Mail GH