Mr Speaker, if we have a situation where
a whole government would have access to about GH¢1.4 or 1.5 billion coming into GETfund and that government consumes about GH¢1 billion of that amount and then they leave behind about US$400 million for infrastructure and then they turn around and borrow US$500 million, which is almost GH¢2 billion plus to do exactly what the GH¢1.4 or 1.5 billion was given to them and they call themselves competent people, they are not.
That is what they are. No competent person would do such a thing.
Mr Speaker, if they actually claim that they are competent -- they promised to reduce corporate income tax from 25 per cent to 20 per cent, and two years on, they are still unable to do it. They call themselves champions for private sector. They cannot deliver on such basic promise. Such that companies are suffering and they dare beat their chests and talk about competence. They have no idea what competence is. They are grossly incompetent and sub-standard. An unprece- dented level of incompetence is what we are dealing with.
Mr Speaker, finally, I would want to talk about the provision of temporary jobs. Jobs for the youth is a good thing and there is no problem with that, but did they have to line up graduates under the scorching sun for them to match in celebration of temporary jobs? This is something that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government did with the Youth and Employment Agency, but they never saw one person who matched under the sun.
This shows the unprecedented level of incompetence and mediocrity that we have to deal with [Hear! Hear!] They should not bring themselves. They should not dare come to this House again to talk about the mess left behind and boast of their competence because they do not even know the definition of the word ‘‘competent''.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Deputy Minister for Finance (Mrs Abena Osei-Asare) (MP): Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute to the Motion on the floor of the House, but before I continue, I would want to say that, yes, the competent group came in to clear the mess that the former Hon Minister for Agriculture; created. [Hear! Hear!] The competent group came in to clear the mess of US$95 million that the then former Hon Minister for Agriculture went to do - - a Suppliers Agreement without passing it through Parliament. We came to clean that.
The former Hon Minister for Agriculture, in the previous NDC Government went ahead to sign a Suppliers Agreement without parlia- mentary approval and the competent group came in to clear this mess. It was in this year that we brought it to Parliament to be ratified.
Mr Speaker, I would want to focus on the arrears, especially the statutory payments. We came to inherit under the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) an arrears of GH¢181 million. This situation stifled the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) of money needed for local development.
Mr Speaker, I would want to use myself as an example. In the year 2013, when I
came to Parliament, I was supposed to have received the first tranche of my DACF allocation in June, but ask them what happened. It came in November, 2013.
Mr Speaker, as I speak, the Government is current on DACF payments and it has given the MMDAs a new lease of life where they could consistently expect their annual quarters of the DACF. This is what is called competence -not making it difficult for the local level to develop.
Mr Speaker, on page 206 of the 2019 Budget Statement, DACF has been given an allocation of GH¢2.1 billion and we are committed to seeing to it that this money would be given to DACF, unlike my Friends on the other Side of the aisle who owed for the years 2014 and 2016. Mr Speaker, I would move to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
We all recall that our Friends from the other Side of the aisle campaigned that when they are given power, they would make NHIS payment a one-time premium, but we all know what became of that huge promise. Instead of improving the Scheme that the NPP and the erstwhile former President Kufuor Administration left for them, they rather sunk the Scheme to the tune of GH¢1.2 billion, which consisted of GH¢84 million owed to service providers and GH¢356 million owed to contractors.
Mr Speaker, the Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo Government has saved this Scheme from sinking by clearing all the GH¢1.2 billion and they call it what? This is what competence means. Currently we have confidence in the Scheme and have taken away the cash-and-carry system that usually comes when the Minority is in power.
Mr Speaker, as I speak, the NHIS has been allocated an amount of GH¢1.69 billion for the year 2019, and we believe
that it would go a long way to strengthen the Scheme that our Friends on the other Side of the aisle sunk low.
Mr Speaker, with regard to GETFund, at the time that this Government took over the reins of power, GETFund was saddled with arrears of GH¢3.3 billion, yet, my Friends on the other Side of the aisle said they had just oil revenues of GH¢6.5 billion. Yet, they were not able to clear the GH¢3.3 billion GETFund arrears they left.
Mr Speaker, as I speak, the arrears is made up of GH¢838 million which is a statutory release that is outstanding and the GH¢2.5 billion is commitment is owed to contractors. That is why there are a lot of uncompleted projects in our constituencies. Ask them! They owed contractors GH¢2.5 billion, yet they sit here and say contractors should be paid.
Mr Speaker, as I speak, the Government has paid 80 per cent of the outstanding releases -- [Hear! Hear!] -- and we intend to use a substantial proportion of the GH¢1.5 billion that this House would approve to pay the deficit of GHc¢2.5 billion that our Friends from the Minority Side left for us. This is an illustration of the fact that the horse rider can make a difference even when one is left with a malnourished horse.
Mr Speaker, this Government cares about education of its citizens because we believe that it is the only asset that a Government could give to its people. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government is building the human capital of this nation, and as I speak, in the 2019 Budget Statement, GH¢1.2 billion has been allocated to the GETFund.
Mr Speaker, it is the same with the Road Fund. The Ex-Mahama Administration left a huge arrears of GH¢845 million which
the Government is paying consistently, but in all these, the Government is current on its statutory payment. We are not building arrears. As we pay for the mess that was caused, we also make the current payment.
Mr Speaker, the Minority keep saying the contractors should be paid. Yes, the Auditor-General validated a debt of GH¢1.2 to 1.4 billion, and as I speak, this Government has paid GH¢3.1 billion of the debt that was left, of which 60 per cent went to road contractors.
This Government, in its first Budget Statement, said that it would clear the mess that they left and the GH¢5.4 billion would be spread over four years and consistently that has been done. It is left with GH¢2.6 billion more to be paid. It is four years and we would make sure that within the four years, as we have committed to Ghanaians, we would do that.
This is an honest and a competent Government, a Government that says yes, and does what it says. This is what Ghana needs.
Mr Speaker, finally, my Brother on the other Side of the House said, to whom much is given, much is expected — [Interruption] — But all he is trying to say is that, do what I say but do not measure me by what I say [Hear! Hear!] That is exactly what he said.
Mr Speaker, the difference of the GH¢ 170 billion of debt that we have now, is about GHc48.6 billion, and out of this, GH¢10 billion is due to the financial crisis — [Interruption] — They could have averted this GH¢10 billion. Ghana could have averted this GH¢10 billion debt if my friends here had been bold enough to