Gov’t has no right to write off debts without parliamentary approval – Ato Forson

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson has questioned the bases for which the Bank of Ghana (BoG) wrote off government’s debt without Parliamentary approval.

He said the BoG cannot unilaterally write off government debt without the consent of Parliament.

Again, he is arguing that the government cannot also force the Bank of Ghana to write off the debt without consulting Parliament for approval.

He has therefore called for “the entire government of Ghana’s debt restructuring programme” to be “submitted to parliament for scrutiny”.

Reacting to the 2023 mid-year budget review on Wednesday, August 2 in Parliament, Dr Ato Forson said any significant decisions related to government debt and finances should be presented to Parliament for proper examination and approval.

He said the central bank and the executive arm of government have written off nearly GH¢48.4 billion of government debt owed to the Bank of Ghana without the approval of Parliament.

The Minority Leader also debunked Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta’s position that the government has “turned the corner” in the economic management of the country.

“We have not turned the corner. We have not even seen the corner from where we are as a country. In fact, we are still in the woods. We are nowhere near the corner, let alone turn it”, Ken Ofori-Atta stated.

According to Dr. Forson, the “government must rather apologise to the people of Ghana for destroying our livelihoods, our country, and our motherland. The almighty Bank of Ghana is now bankrupt with negative equity of over GH¢55 billion and counting that will require the taxpayer to recapitalise it”.

“Who would have thought that the once prestigious Ghana Cocoa Board will today be bankrupt to the extent that they cannot repay their debt to cocoa bondholders, cocoa road contractors, and Licence Buying Companies and fertiliser suppliers”?, he questioned.

“How could you claim to have turned a corner when inflation is currently 42.5% and rising and projected to be 31.3% by the end of the year, when monetary policy is 30% and rising, and commercial bank lending rate is 36% and rising?”

“How could you claim to have turned a corner when? GDP growth has been revised from 2.8% to 1.5%, current net international reserves are about 1 week of import cover and it is projected to be about 3 weeks (0.8 months) of import cover by the end of the year 2023 even with IMF cash?”

He added that “ECG, yaamutu; GIHOC Distilleries, yaamutu; NEDCo, yaamutu; GRIDCo, yaamutu; Buffer Stock Company, yaamutu; Ghana Publishing Company, yaamutu; Ghana Railways, yaamutu; STC, yaamutu; Ghana Airport Company Limited, yaamutu. What a corner you have turned, Mr. Minister!” the Minority Leader chanted.

Source: graphic online

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