Tuesday, 30 May

'Cosmetic, empty'! Ato Forson on Ofori-Atta's economy-fixing measures

Dr Cassiel Ato Forson

The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam constituency and Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has described the measures announced by the government to address the current economic challenges facing the county as “cosmetic and empty.”

According to the MP, the measures announced by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, as part of efforts to ensure the country recovers from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, will rather “erode confidence” in the country’s economy.

The MP, in a tweet, following the announcement of the measures by the Finance Minister, said: “The Fiscal measures announced today are just cosmetic and empty. It will further erode confidence in the economy.”

Rather, the MP proposed that the government “should place a moratorium on loans, cut 2022 foreign-financed projects by at least 50%! And deliver on the promise to review all flagship programmes!”

The Finance Minister on Thursday, 25 March 2022, at a press conference held in Accra, announced a series of measures being adopted by the government to get the economy back on track.

Read some of the measures below:

i. Discretionary spending is to be further cut by an additional 10%.

The Ministry of Finance is currently meeting with MDAs to review their spending plans for the rest of the three (3) quarters to achieve the discretionary expenditure cuts;

ii. these times call for very efficient use of energy resources. In line with this, there will be a 50% cut in fuel coupon allocations for all political appointees and Heads of government institutions, including SOEs, effective 1 st April 2022;

iii. with immediate effect, the Government has imposed a complete moratorium on the purchase of imported vehicles for the rest of the year. This will affect all new orders, especially 4-wheel drives. We will ensure that the overall effect is to reduce total vehicle purchases by the public sector by at least 50 per cent for the period;

iv. again, with immediate effect Government has imposed a moratorium on all foreign travels, except pre-approved critical/statutory travels;

v. Government will conclude ongoing measures to eliminate “ghost” workers from the Government payroll by the end of December 2022;

vi. Government will conclude the renegotiation of the Energy Sector IPPs capacity charges by end of Q3-2022 to further reduce excess capacity payments by 20% to generate a total savings of GHS1.5 billion;

vii. impose a moratorium on the establishment of new public sector institutions by the end of April 2022;

viii. prioritise ongoing public projects over new projects. This is to enhance the efficient use of limited public funds over the period by finishing ongoing or stalled but approved projects;

ix. reduce expenditure on all meetings and conferences by 50%, effective immediately;

x. Finally, Cabinet approved that Ministers and the Heads of SOEs to contribute 30 per cent of their salaries from April to December 2022 to the Consolidated Fund; We would like to thank the Council of State for their leadership in complimenting the Government on this policy.

xi. pursue comprehensive re-profiling strategies to reduce the interest expense burden on the fiscal; and

xii. liaise with Organised Labour and Employers Association to implement with immediate effect, the measures captured in the Kwahu Declaration of the 2022 National Labour Conference, including reforms towards addressing salary inequities/inequalities (e.g. Article 71 Office Holders), the weak link between pay to productivity and the sustainability of the payroll.

xiii. Let me say this, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has absolutely no intention to roll back on a major policy like Free SHS. We see education as the best enabler for sustainable economic growth and transformation and will do more to improve on it for it to serve more and better our children.

All of these measures are aimed at ensuring that we achieve the 7.4% deficit target set in the 2022 budget.



Source: classfmonline.com/Elikem Adiku