28 March 2017

Ghana: Government's Octopus Style of Raising Revenue Will Sink Ghana

A ranking member of the Finance Committee of Parliament is chiding government for the octopus style it has adopted in raising revenue to implement its campaign promises.

Casiel Ato Forson insists the government's decision to cut down on statutory payment and its plan to operate a centralised system for all internally generated funds for hospitals, schools and other public institutions is nothing more than a desperate effort to raise revenue to execute outlandish policies.

The former Deputy Minister of Finance said these octopus style of raising revenue will have dire consequences not just on the economy but on the sustenance of key public institutions.

The government in its 2017 budget statement hinted it will cut back on the annual government revenue to be ceded to the District Assemblies Common Fund and other statutory payments.

This the minority insisted was a violation of Article 252 (2) which states that at least 5% of annual government revenue be ceded to the District Assemblies Common Fund.

During the Appointment Committee of Parliament vetting of the Deputy Minister of Finance nominee, Kweku Kwarteng on Tuesday, the matter came up for debate with the nominee justifying government's decision and strategy.

But Ato Forson insists Ghanaians are doomed. Speaking to Joy News the MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam argued by that singular policy to reduce the statutory funds, the GETFund and the National Health Insurance Scheme are on the verge of collapse.

According to him, GETfund has been starved of not less than one billion cedis as a result of this new policy.

"GETfund has not outlived purpose," he said adding, by this decision, "contractors will not get paid, contractors will not get their loans approved."

He said for a party that was loud in opposition accusing the then government of collapsing the NHIS due to non-payment of claims, he thought that, now in government, the NPP would have looked for alternative means of raising revenues to support the operations of the NHIS.

He didn't know that the government would rather reduce funds meant to go into the operations of the Scheme.

"I thought that at the very least, they will rather look for money somewhere else to increase the allocation going to the National Health Insurance fund and not necessarily to go and cap the amount going to the fund and reduce it. I am surprised".

"... They have also capped all the IGF retentions, to the extent that even the psychiatric hospitals, Pantang, Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Ankafo in the Central Region, all the teacher training colleges, all the polytechnics, universities have been capped saying that they need the money at the centre. It is a clear sign of a government that has over promised the people and looking for money anywhere else to make sure they can fund the government promises," he said.

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