THE NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC’s) Minority spokesperson on finance, Cassiel Ato-Forson, seems to have churned out misleading information to the public in his desperate attempt to showcase that the Ghanaian economy is performing poorly under the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) Government.
Mr. Ato-Forson, Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam Constituency in the Central Region, recently released major economic statistics in a bid to project the President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration of managing the Ghanaian economy badly.
For instance, touching on the non-rebased FISC deficit figure for 2016, the NDC’s lawmaker indicated that “official data from the Ministry of Finance indicates clearly that overall deficit by end year 2016 was 7.8% of GDP (6.1% of new GDP).”
But that has turned out to be a complete falsehood.
He has been accused of pretentiously quoting a provisional out-turn 2016 non-rebased deficit figure from the website of the Ministry of Finance as 7.8 percent.
That figure understandably, is a provisional outturn and as such financial experts believe it cannot be said to be the actual deficit figure for 2016.
A financial expert who pleaded anonymity said “even in his (Ato-Forson’s) attempt to lie about the figure, he quoted the wrong one because in the excel sheet on the Ministry’s website the figure is 8.7% and not 7.8%.”
According to the expert, “the actual (not provisional) fiscal deficit figure for 2016 is clearly provided for in the mid-year budget of 2017, as well as the 2018 and 2019 budgets. And in all of them the figure mentioned is 9.3%, consistent with what Dr. Bawumia mentioned.
The expert noted that ” for example: page 7, par. 14 of the 2017 Mid-Year Budget reads as: “Mr. Speaker, on the fiscal front, updated information shows that the end-2016 fiscal deficit was worse than previously estimated, at 9.3 percent of GDP compared to the provisional figure of 8.7 percent of GDP on cash basis at the time of presenting the 2017 Budget.”
Page 12, par. 45 of the 2018 Mid-Year Budget also reads: “the cash fiscal deficit declined from 9.3 percent of GDP in 2016 to 5.9 percent at the end of 2017, 0.4 percentage point lower than the original forecast of 6.3 percent, as in Table 1”.
Again page 3, par. 14. Of 2019 Full Budget Statement reads as: “Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember what it was in order to appreciate the work that has been done to fix the mess: High Fiscal Deficits reaching 9.3 percent of GDP in 2016”
“Ato-Forson lied here. Where did he get the 7.8% for 2016 from? Even the rebased (new) deficit figure of 6.1% was wrong. It is rather 6.8% as mentioned by Dr. Bawumia, the expert fumed.”
BY Melvin Tarlue