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Management of economy is to protect public purse – President Akufo-Addo

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday disclosed that the government has adopted different governance management system in order to protect the public purse and ensure value for money in all activities.

“I am protecting the public purse as I promised prior to Election 2016, my government is working tirelessly to protect the public purse,” President Akufo-Addo stated at a Media Encounter in Accra.

President Akufo-Addo said the government is on a good course to stabilise the economy, enhance business growth and subsequently create more jobs.

He said this was necessary considering that the government inherited a “huge public debt with the macroeconomic fundamentals of the country in disarray.

“We had to do things differently, and these were my marching orders to all members of the government.

“We have to rapidly grow and expand the economy, and that can only happen when the fundamentals are in place. The Economic Management team has risen up to the challenge and demonstrated that doing things differently we will achieve positive results,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

President Akufo-Addo noted that, in 2016 the Public Procurement Authority had 622 sole sourced requests, 577 of that number amounting to 98 per cent, were approved and there were 25 rejections.

“There were 592 requests made for restricted tenders, of which 587, which is 99.15 per cent, were approved with five rejections. A grand total of zero savings was made through the procurement process,” he said.

He added that “In 2017, our first year in government, 394 sole sourcing requests were made, out of which 223, that is 56.6 per cent were approved, and 171, that 43.6 per cent were rejected.

“There were 346 requests for restricted tenders, and 167, that is 48 per cent were approved, and 52 per cent were rejected. The savings made over the year, as a result, amounted to GHc145 million, $142 million, €1.8 million and £22,400.

“As my own mathematics teacher used to say, you cannot argue with figures, and such figures surely provide the incentive to open out government procurement”.

On the debt situation, President Akufo-Addo said the work of the Economic Management Team has yielded positive results; “Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has rebound, recording a growth from 9.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, against a figure of 3.5 per cent for the same period in 2016.

“Latest information indicates that inflation is at 11.8 per cent, down from 15.6 per cent at the end of December 2016. The debt situation has improved, with the annual average rate of debt accumulation of 36 per cent in recent years, declining to about 13.6 per cent at September 2016.

“As a result, the public debt stock as a ratio of GDP, is 68.3 per cent against the annual target of 71 per cent for 2017, and end 2016 actual figure at 73.1 per cent,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

President Akufo-Addo noted that for the first time in a long while, government had been able to give better budgetary support for the constitutionally mandated institutions that hold government accountable such as the Auditor General, the Judiciary, Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, CHRAJ, EOCO and the Police.

He noted; “We have also been able to transfer some Ghc3.3billion of tier two pension funds into the custodial accounts of the pension schemes of the labour unions, funds that had been outstanding for six years and the unions had been loudly complaining.

“I am being urged to pay contractors and I am paying them. In 2017, nearly Ghc1billion of which the government of Ghana provided Ghc300million and the Road Fund provided some Ghc660 million was paid.

“In January this year, we have disbursed Ghc125 million, out of the remainder of Ghc600 million to the contractors. We have paid Ghc826 million of our Ghc1.2billion loan contracted by the previous administration, which the Road Fund was used as collateral”.

President Akufo-Addo explains; “It is important to know that all these debts were accrued under the previous administration. I will also point out that much of the statutory arrears that we met have been cleared, that is debts to the NHIS, the District Assemblies Common Fund and the GetFund.

“We must also point out that the salary arrears paid to our teachers last week, were accrued from 2013 to 2016”.

He said as part of the prudent financial management, government would pay public sector bills as they come to avoid accruing arrears.

“We are resisting the temptation to award contracts when funds are not available to pay for the certificates as they come up. Those who conduct business with government will find that things are being done differently.

“We have had to subject Ghc8 billion of arrears bequeathed to us at the beginning of 2017, to a process of audit review and validation.

“The Audit Service has certified payments of Ghc5.5 billion and rejected about Ghc5.7 billion, representing a potential savings of 51 per cent on these outstanding commitments.

“This shows the validity of our criticism, that so much of contracts awarded under the previous administration were inflated and apparently in some cases non-existent.

“I have promised to protect the public purse and I am doing just that. Those who have done honest work and have honest rates for the government, will get paid and paid on time, so their profits do not get swallowed up in bank interest and thereby threatening the collapse of their businesses,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

Source: BusinessGhana.com