THE Minority in Parliament has kicked against the use of money accrued in the Ghana Heritage Fund to address Ghana’s economic challenges, describing the proposition as “ridiculous”.
It said the Minority would offer resistance if the government initiated any move in that direction.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei, told the Daily Graphic that the government had failed to properly account for 91 per cent of oil proceeds and should rather initiate moves to properly account for every pesewa, instead of drawing money from the fund.
He said although the investment was not yielding much interest, it was prudent not to use the money.
He said Ghana’s oil resources, which were likely to run out in the next 25 years, were also for generations unborn, hence the move to establish the fund to ensure that future generations had something to fall on. “The government, in the 2012 budget, used GH0110 million for capacity building. They have not been able to account for that money. What has the money been used for? “They should account for all the monies that come to them, instead of thinking of withdrawing money from the fund,” he said.
Dr. Akoto-Osei wondered what could be done with $117 million, which is the amount of money in the fund, considering the challenges the economy faced.
He said the government should rather deal with the corruption that had characterized the management of the economy and retrieve money embezzled by officials of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) and the Savannah Accelerated Development Agency (SADA), instead of turning attention the Heritage Fund.
The Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul, said if the government initiated any move to draw money from the Heritage Fund, “we will resist it with all our might”.
He said it was against the law to draw money from the fund and added that if there was any fund the government could “touch”, it was the Stabilization Fund which held 21 per cent of oil proceeds.
He said if the government was in need of money, it could go to Parliament, make a case for the use of money from the Stabilization Fund and if Parliament was convinced, it could give the government the “go-ahead” to use money from the fund.
With regard to the Heritage Fund, he said the law did not allow the government to draw from it because it was established specifically for future generations. “So I am wondering why they are even talking about the Heritage Fund. Maybe they are confusing the Stabilization Fund with the Heritage Fund. “Even the Heritage Fund contains only nine per cent of oil proceeds, which is not as much as the Stabilization Fund,” he said.
According to Mr Nitiwul, the government had not demonstrated that it was a good manager of the economy and had failed to properly account for oil revenues. “We in the Minority advocated long ago that our oil proceeds should be used for specific projects, but that has not been done,” he said.
He wondered why the government had not contemplated drawing money from the country’s currency reserves, which were much bigger, but was making statements regarding the Heritage Fund.
Source: Daily Graphic
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