The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament has called on the Auditor-General and Parliament to investigate the Minister for Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, for violating the Financial Administration Regulations (FAR), Regulations 193.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, a ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Hon. Casiel Ato Forson, said the attention of the Minority has been drawn to the reversal of interest payment of an amount of GH¢758.5 million and review of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of the 2016 financial year.
He contended that the Minister’s reversal of this, violates the long-standing ‘cut-off’ fiscal rules for the sole purpose of making the government’s dismal performance for the first half of the 2017 financial year ‘look good’, adding that the action also purports to make the performance for the 2016 financial year worse.
Mr. Ato Forson also said that the ‘doctoring’ of figures is shameful, regrettable and cosmetic. He further indicated that from appendix Table 5A: Page 53 of the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, Summary of Revised Central Government Operations – 2017, the Minister for Finance has reduced domestic interest payment by an amount of GH¢657,005,271, to create the impression that expenditure on domestic interest payment is being reduced. He added that this is clearly artificially compressed and contrived, stressing that this is a blatant disregard for cut-off fiscal rules in accordance with the Financial Administration Regulations (FAR), Regulations 193.
‘We call on the Auditor-General and Parliament to immediately conduct an investigation into this violation of long-standing, ‘cut-off’ fiscal rule by the Finance Minister. Clearly, the Minister lacks the authority to make the adjustment he made under the Financial Administration Regulations (Far), Regulation 193, on closure of accounts’, Hon. Ato Forson said.
He also said the nation will be better served if these issues raised are treated with a sense of urgency and fairness by the Ministry of Finance.