Over Excessive Borrowing
Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, has questioned why the Akufo-Addo economic management team, is borrowing excessively, although it had in opposition vowed never to do so in the running of the country.
“We were told there wouldn’t be any borrowing at all. We were made to understand there was going to be some magic wand. How come we are borrowing in the first place?” he asked.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) in opposition, accused the Mahama government of saddling the country with debts and vowed never to borrow in case their Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, is elected as president.
On several platforms, the current Vice-President and leader of the Akufo-Addo economic management team, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia , Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and President Akufo-Addo himself, insisted that Ghana has enormous resources to live without borrowing and aid money.
But 11 months into the NPP administration, the country has been borrowing on monthly basis from all manner of places to meet its expenditure.
Sold a 2.5 billion dollar bond to the Franklin Templeton in a deal described as corrupt, recently it failed to raise the full amount of a bond to defray some government debts owned actors in the energy sector.
Mr. Terkper, however, wondered why the current administration, has started borrowing when it promised prior to the elections that it had the magic wand to fix the economy without borrowing.
He also predicted a tough time ahead for the country, saying the budget presented by the Finance Minister on Wednesday is challenged and lacks details on how certain policies will be implemented.
The ex-Finance Minister, defended the fiscal decisions he took during his tenure, saying he has no regrets for taking those measures.
Critics of Mr. Terkper claim his fiscal decisions led to the 2016 defeat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Some of the critics who were in the past regime, have laid part of the NDC’s defeat at his doorstep, because of what they described as his “rigid policies.”
But speaking on the Morning Starr Thursday, Mr. Terkper, who was nicknamed the ‘Tax man’ told host Francis Abban that, he served Ghana well and has no regrets over his tenure.
“I have no regrets as far as the job is concerned. The job, however, was tough but we did our best,” Mr. Terkper said.
On another platform, the fformer Finance Minister, commended the current government’s economic management team and the Energy Minister for reducing electricity cost.
The power tariff cut, by as much as 13percent for some category of users, was contained in the 2018 budget statement presented to Parliament by Ken Ofori-Atta, on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
According to Mr. Ofori-Atta, from next year, residential and non-residential electricity consumers will enjoy 13percent reduction in their tariffs.
The Minister, explained that the reduction is “to give relief to the poor whose individual consumption actually falls in the subsidised life-line category but who live in a compound house, the existing 4-tier tariff classification of residential consumers will be collapsed into Lifeline and Non-Lifeline consumers in phases.”
High voltage consumers, such as the mining companies will enjoy a 21 percent tariff reduction with special load tariff medium voltage getting 11 percent, and special load tariff high voltage getting 14 percent reduction.
Commenting on the tariff reduction on current affairs programme, Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV, on Wednesday, Mr. Terkper said, although there had been ongoing efforts by the previous John Mahama-led administration to reduce the high cost of electricity, the current administration deserves commendation for pulling it off.
“I think we should give some credits and compliments where it is due because [the decision to reduce power tariff] involves a lot of work. I know some renegotiations were done, I know some work was done,” he told show host, Paul Adom Otchere.
He said, Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, also deserved commendation, because many of the negotiation that resulted in the eventual reduction of the power tariff, would have to be spearheaded by him.
For four years from 2012, the country was plunged into a debilitating power crisis that culminated into the unpopular load shedding locally called ‘dumsor’.
The situation affected many businesses.
There was loss of jobs, reduced economic output and the loss of consumer and investor confidence in the economy.
In an effort to end the ‘dumsor’ the John Mahama-led administration, resorted to emergency measures which drove the price of power astronomically high.
Seth Terkper, revealed on Good Evening Ghana that, the previous administration, which he was part of, had initiated steps to move from the use of crude oil to run thermal to the use of gas from Ghana’s oil fields in a bid to reduce the cost.
He said, there were also plans by the previous administration to enhance the capacity of thermal plants, suggesting that previous administration, would have reached a similar decision with time, however, that notwithstanding, the current administration did a good job by accomplishing a most important feat in power management.