Ghana Won't Go HIPC

Despite the excessive borrowing embarked upon by the government which pushed the country's public debt to GH¢29.6 billion, representing 44.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012, as against a debt of GH¢23.9 billion (42.6% of GDP) in December 2011, the Minister designate for Finance, Seth Tekper insists Ghana will not go to the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status.

He assured Ghanaians and the business community that when approved as the Finance Minister he will work hard to ensure that Ghana is not declared as a HPIC country due to excessive borrowing.

Mr. Tekper gave the assurance when he appeared before members of the Vetting Committee of Parliament in Accra, yesterday.

Members of the minority side of the august House boycotted the vetting of President Mahama's ministerial nominees which began yesterday. The minority decision to boycott the vetting stem from its suit filed at the Supreme Court, challenging the declaration of President Mahama as president-elect in the 2012 president election.

Touching on the delay payment of government projects, he attributed the late payment of contractors of government projects to several reasons including untimely submission of contract receipts by contractors for payment.

Mr. Tekper, therefore, gave the assurance that when the financial system was improved, the finance ministry would effectively and efficiently monitor the situation and do a proper cash flow.

On the existing of ghost names on government pay roll, he explained the results of the biometric registration for public workers had been successful and the pay roll will be enhanced.

The minister designate announced that when given the nod he would establish an electronic Human Resource Management (HRM) to complement the pay roll system to totally eliminate the ghost name canker.

When asked by MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, on how he intends to end payments of judgment debts which became alarming under the previous administration, Mr. Tekper indicated that the proceedings and outcome of the Sole Commissioner's work will be used to enhance the work of the finance ministry.

He will work with the Attorney-General's Department and also strengthen the Legal Department of the Finance Ministry to curb the abrogation of contracts leading up to judgment debts and subsequent payments.

On his part, the MP for Akwatia, Baba Jamal questioned the relationship Mr. Tekper had with his workers when he was Deputy Finance Minister.

According to him, some of the workers at the ministry have complained about his working relations with them.

Mr. Tekper answered that he has a cordial working relation with the staff of the ministry but admitted that some workers took offence when asked to do the right thing.

He added that discipline is important in running a ministry and appealed to the workers that they are custodians of funds and they should not mismanage the funds of the country.

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