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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blame Mills over TOR debt - Dr. Akoto Osei

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei
Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei
Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, has accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of contributing to the woes of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR,) which is currently indebted to the tune of one billion dollars.

According to him, the government took a political gamble when it decided to reduce government levies and taxes on petroleum products which resulted in the reduction of revenue that would have accrued to the state.

Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle in Accra yesterday, Dr. Akoto Osei said the TOR debt at Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) is pilling up because revenue from petroleum products which should have gone into servicing the loan has slumped, resulting in the current difficulties.

He contended that the four member committee that has been set up by the government to look into the TOR debt would not come out with any thing different, apart from the strategies that the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) government put in place.

He also added that the team would have only one option of issuing five to seven year bond to service the debt at the GCB.

He said if the bonds are issued, it would ease the burden on government and also help the refinery to payoff the debt gradually, with less problems.

Earlier, the minority leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, told journalists that the budget sent by the Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor to the IMF, was different from the one brought to parliament for approval.

He alleged that whilst the Minister's report to the IMF gives a clear state of the economy and government interventions so far, that of parliament creates an impression that the economy has run down,

The minority leader mentioned that whereas the Minister acknowledged in his letter to the IMF in June 2009, that the economy grew at 7.3%, he failed to acknowledge it in his mid year review budget.

According to him, the NPP thinks eight months into the NDC administration, the Minister would have settled down by now, and would have been much more prudent and sincere with Ghanaians, but he is rather still treading on the same path.

Hon. Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu noted that after the Minister had conceded that significant amount of government expenditure was earmarked to improve the educational infrastructure and also subsidize education by the two pronged policy on school fees and capitation grants, he should have been bold enough to state that the economy was not ran down by his predecessors.

He said the minority has since 2006 informed Ghanaians about the challenges facing the economy and because of the resilience and good economic policies that they have been able to maintain stability, in spite of severe global crisis which the Minister admitted to the IMF.

He reiterated that in presenting the estimates to Ghanaians, the Minister painted a different picture that in spite of the progress in the macroeconomic and structural areas, the economy has come under severe stress since 2006.

According to the minority leader, in the face of these severe crises, it would have been irresponsible for the NPP government not to have taken the measures it took to provide some relief to Ghanaians.

"Indeed, without these interventions, the economy would have slowed down considerably and many businesses would have collapsed without adequate and reliable electricity supply".

The minority leader is also alleging that the Minister of Finance, Dr. Duffuor, has not been truthful with Ghanaians, about the true state of the economy.

He said the Minister has been consistently providing falsehoods and half truths when it suits his interest, adding that as, an Honourable man, he must be honourable about the information he gives out.

Source: Chronicle/Ghana

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