The former Deputy Minister of Power under the erstwhile John Mahama administration, John Jinapor has insisted that the Finance Minister’s defense to the effect that his ministry did not present economic figures to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that are different from those it presented to Parliament has rather exposed the fact that the ministry did indeed present varying figures to the IMF and Parliament.
The opposition National Democratic Congress ( NDC) had accused the Finance Ministry of presenting underreported figures to Parliament while reporting the true figures to the IMF in order to access a Rapid Credit Facility of one billion( to be used to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19).
The accusation was rejected by government spokespersons but the Media Foundation for West Africa, through its fact checkers, supported the claim by the opposition that the government,through the Finance Ministry, had indeed presented different figures to the IMF and Parliament.
But the Finance Ministry hit back denying the accusation, leading Mr Jinapor to use the Finance Ministry’s own admission in their rejoinder as confirmation that the Ministry had indeed presented different figures to the IMF.
He argued:”In the Rejoinder issued by the Ministry of Finance, it is obvious the Finance Minister admits there are discrepancies between their figures contained in the Budget Statement and that of the IMF.
For the avoidance of doubt, I have reproduced relevant portions from the Ministry’s statement confirming that there are indeed “Differences” between the two sets of figures.”
Mr Jinapor then went ahead to cite the portions from the Minister’s ( Finance Minister) rejoinder that unwittingly show that indeed different figures were presented to the two institutions in question:
“The statement amongst other states that; It is important to note that the reasons for these differences have been duly acknowledged by the IMF in the footnotes under each table in the IMF Staff Report on the Rapid Credit Facility (IMF Country Report No.20/110) from which the Media Foundation drew their claims”
“It is worthy of note that, just as Ghana did in our full year reports, the IMF in their Ghana Country Report (No.20/110), from which the Media Foundation quoted, both the “Overall balance” and “Overall balance excluding financial and energy sector related costs” have been reported. It is disingenuous for anybody to pick different variables for comparison. The Media Foundation should not do that”
The question is, why would the Ministry of Finance report the actual overall balance (Fiscal Deficit) for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years (which are above 7%) to the IMF but choose to hide the same from the Budget as presented to Ghanaians through the Parliament of Ghana?
Why under-report the Total deficits to Ghanaian but report the actual full year figures to the IMF? What’s the motive behind such deception?” He wondered.
The debate on the figures continues to rage as the opposition seeks to justify its claims while the government defends its actions.