The proposal by the Akufo-Addo government to deplete the Heritage Fund under the guise of financing our collective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is a definite no-no.
The Heritage Fund was setup by the visionary Mills/Mahama government for good reason. It is to serve as an endowment to support development for future generations when our petroleum reserves are eventually depleted.
The billions of Cedis that government intends to borrow from external sources in the coming days, the GHS1.2 billion government intends to draw from the Stabilization Fund, and the recent $3 billion Eurobond, should be enough to bolster the COVID-19 fight and to plug the financial gaps and revenue shortfalls which will be occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Posterity will not forgive this generation if we bequeath nothing but debt to the next generation.
The Akufo-Addo government is by far the most resourced government in the history of Ghana. Sadly, they have nothing significant to show for the unprecedented resources that have accrued to them in loans, oil revenue, and tax revenue among others, in the last three (3) years due to their unbridled penchant for profligacy and corruption.
Rather than deplete the Heritage Fund, President Akufo-Addo should first cut down the size of his obese government and their wasteful expenses, so as to reduce pressure on the already-constrained public purse and increase available resources for the enhancement of our response plan against the COVID-19 pandemic. This is what any responsible government that cares about future generations will do under the circumstances.
It is instructive to note, that per section 10 (4) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815), 2011, Parliament can only review the restriction on transfers from the Ghana Heritage Fund and authorize a transfer of portions of the accrued interest on the Fund, 15 years after the commencement of the ACT. The Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815), was passed in the year 2011; hence it is nine (9) years old. Therefore, any attempt by government to deplete the Heritage Fund at this time will be unlawful and must be resisted by all well-meaning Ghanaians.
SAMMY GYAMFI Esq.