A Deputy Finance Minister nominee, Kwaku Kwarteng, has explained that Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia never suggested that a GHc7 billion expenditure by the former NDC administration was missing.
According to him, the Vice President’s comment only meant that, the expenditure was not properly accounted for within government’s financial management framework. Mr. Kwarteng’s comment comes on the back of some media reports which said the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, had claimed that data on the GHc7 billion expenditure had gone missing. “In preparing for this year’s budget for example, we have been very surprised by the fiscal data, the data on our expenditure and our revenue.
As we interrogated the data, we realized to our shock that, expenditure amounting to 7 billion cedis was made by the previous government, but never disclosed. These come from 2014, 2015 and 2016, so where have they been hiding all these years? How are you supposed to manage an economy with faulty data? And so we have to emphasize that, getting the data right is really very key because it throws the entire budget into disarray because you are going into 2017 and suddenly you are told by the way that there is 7 billion you have to pay next year that you did not anticipate. This is the reality,” the Vice President added. Meanwhile, answering questions from the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu when he [Kwaku Kwarteng] appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, the Deputy Finance Minister nominee defended the Vice President’s comments on the GHc7 billion claim. “They have never been missing.
I was surprised when I heard; especially the spokespersons of the previous government make the point about government claiming some monies were missing. What I heard from the Vice President and Ministry of Finance was that these monies happened outside the public financial management framework, that is to say, you have GIFMIS and platforms that proper expenditures could go through where people sit in their districts and sometimes they commit central government. These happened outside GIFMIS and our public finance management frameworks, so when they come to you say they are unreported, you didn’t know about them, you didn’t know they were in the economy.
They were not missing; they were just outstanding obligations that government had to satisfy,” he clarified. He also noted that, the amount could even be more because government is still in the process of auditing the data bothering on the claims. “It is GHc7 billion, it is still being audited but for now, it is GHc7 billion. What the budget presented is a different category of what we called arrears. There are many arrears in the economy, in fact, the figure could even be more than GHc7 billion because as the minister indicated, the claims are still being validated, the figure could even be more than the GHc7 billion the Vice President mentioned,” Mr. Kwarteng added.
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