Parliament has approved government’s 2.5 billion dollar Eurobond to finance major government infrastructure.
The proceeds of the bond are expected to finance the provision of capital expenditure captured in this year’s (2018) budget for sectors such as the health, roads & highways and railway.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta in the 2018 budget presentation stated that the government will raise the amount as it has become necessary to develop the beneficiary sectors.
The IMF in its recent discussions on the government’s performance under the agreement suggested that the government limits its borrowing to 500 million dollars citing rising public debt stock.
However, the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson has raised concerns of inconsistencies and wants government to review the plan.
According to him, the government data submitted in the budget goes contrary to the planned use of the proceeds of the bond.
“So they are going to use the money to fund projects that are not in the budget statement and that is serious. For me I believe in fiscal discipline and I cannot be part of this and that is why I said that I cannot witness or see the Minister of Finance to go this tangent; it is a terrible tangent, it is not a tangent that we should allow it to stand,” he argued.
Mr. Forson added, “So I am asking the Finance Minister to amend this document immediately so that he does not go contrary to what is stated in the budget.”
But responding to the concerns of the Minority, a Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah maintains that the government has not flouted any aspects as spelt out in the budget.
“They have gone to one particular part of the budget and are reading the totals and saying that those totals are not equal to the 4.7 billion dollars we are talking about and therefore we will be spending beyond the budget. Take the total appropriation and the uses were outlined in the original budget and highlighted today that we will be using part of the money for road, railway and infrastructure.”
“What we have done today is just requesting Parliament to give us the approval to go to the international market. If we were raising this money locally, we would not have come to Parliament. But because we are going to the international market, that is why we have come to the House for the warrant to do so. In any case Parliament has approved this as part of the economic policy,” Mr. Oppong added.
GH¢500m global depository notes
Meanwhile Parliament has approved the equivalent of a 500 million cedi to be issued as global depository notes.
The notes will allow Ghana to issue shares in a foreign company which will be held by a foreign branch of an international bank.