Parliament has approved the Finance Minister’s request for GH¢10.9 billion to finance critical government expenditure in the first quarter of 2017.
Seth Terkper wants to use the money to finance interests on loans, grants to some government agencies as well as salaries and compensation for public sector workers.
The request is part of efforts by the Ministry to ensure smooth running of government as the upcoming elections will make it difficult for an Appropriation Act to be secured before the end of this year,
Article 180 of the Constitution states that when it appears that the Appropriation Act in respect of any financial year will not come into operation by the beginning of that financial year, the President may, with the prior approval of Parliament, authorise the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Fund for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government in respect of the period expiring three months from the beginning of the financial year.
According to allocation details that accompanied the request made to the Finance Committee of Parliament, about GH¢2 billion will be used to pay for interests on loans, GH¢2.3 billion for grants to government agencies, while about GH¢4 billion will be used to pay for salaries and compensation government employees.
A funding gap of GH¢ 2 billion will be raised through domestic and external borrowing, according to a report that accompanied the request.
Elton John Brobbey reports the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) were critical about the GH¢2 million allocated for loan serving.
Minority MP for New Juaben South, Mark Assibey Yeboah, said the huge amount earmarked for the payment of interests on loans is the result of the current administration’s insatiable appetite for loans.
“When the next President comes to power, he has to make interest payments of 1.9 billion Ghana cedis. Why would you saddle the next President with such a burden?,” he asked on the Floor of Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister has deferred non-core expenses to Q2 2017.
A significant part of the requested funds, some GH¢ 7.2 billion, will be raised through various tax instruments.