Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central Constituency, Lawyer Inusah Fuseini has disclosed that the reason why the finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta chose to do a press conference to inform Ghanaian about measures put in place to mitigate suffering of the citizens is to avoid ‘parliamentary accountability’.
Mr. Inusah Fuseini served in the erstwhile John Mahama government as roads and highways minister made the comments in an exclusive interview with radio Tamale’s Fuseini Safianu following the finance minister’s press conference today, March 24, 2022.
“The statement (the finance minister) made should have been in parliament. So that it will be subjected to secrutiny. Minority and majority will debate those policies. And if it is approved after the debate, it (the statement) gets parliamentary ratification of those policies. And it gets credibility, because parliament has approved those policies”, the former MP said.
“And if he (the minister) fails to go by those policies, parliament can call him. Then you are bringing in accountability. He can be held accountable. Because he doesn’t want all that, that is why he chose the press conference. Because no one will hold him responsible. That is impunity. He doesn’t intend to do anything”, he added.
According to the former lawmaker, there is precedence to what he is saying ; he said President Jerry Rawlings faced similar challenges and came to parliament. President Kufour did same. and even President John Dramani Mahama also returned to parliament to brief the country. He described the move by the finance minister as and the government as “arrogant”.
The minister, in announcing the measures put in place by government to cushion Ghanaians against the current economic hardships disclosed that fuel prices in Ghana will go down by 15 pesewas per litre effective April 1, 2022. This reduction will be in place for three months.
The government has committed to further spending cuts amid the rising cost of living and growing sense of economic hardship.
These new measures will be in addition to the ongoing 20 percent expenditure cut as part of fiscal stabilization and debt sustainability measures.
Members of the Council of State also voluntarily cut their monthly allowances by 20 percent till the end of 2022.
The government has said these moves are aimed at ensuring the 7.4% deficit target set in the 2022 budget is met.
In addition, the Ministry of Finance has said it has strengthened its Expenditure Monitoring systems and processes to ensure effective implementation of these measures.
Find below the new measures announced by the government
The government plans to cut discretionary spending by an additional 10 percent. The Ministry of Finance is meeting with Ministries, Departments and Agencies to review spending plans for the rest of the year.
There will be a 50 percent cut in fuel coupon allocation for all political appointees and heads of government institutions to ensure efficient use of energy resources. This measure is effective April 1, 2022. Fuel coupons normally account for over GHS 60 million, according to the Finance Minister.
The suspension of the purchase of imported vehicles for 2022 to reduce total vehicle purchases for the year. This will affect all new orders, especially Four-wheel drives.
The suspension of all foreign travels except pre-approved statutory travels or critical travels.
The government plans to conclude measures to eliminate ghost workers from the government payroll by the end of 2022.
The government hopes to conclude renegotiations of the Independent Power Producer capacity charges by the end of the third quarter of 2022 to further reduce capacity payments by 20 percent to generate total savings of GHS1.5 billion.
Moratorium on the establishment of new public sector institutions by the end of April 2022
Prioritise ongoing projects over new projects to enhance the efficient use of limited public funds by finishing ongoing or stalled projects
The reduction of expenditure on all meetings and conferences by 50 percent.
Pursue reprofiling strategies to reduce the interest expense burden on the fiscal.
The government also plans to liaise with organised labour to implement measures in the Kwahu declaration of the 2022 National Labour Conference. These include reforms towards addressing salary inequities.
Ministers and the Heads of SOEs will also be contributing 30 percent of their salaries from April to December 2022 to the Consolidated Fund.