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Business News of Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Source: laudbusiness.com

Govt cant use coronavirus to deplete all our resources – John Jinapor


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John Jinapor, Member of Parliament for Yapei-Kusawgu is opposing moves by the Finance Ministry to amend the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to enable the government withdraw funds form the Ghana Heritage Fund Fund(GHF) to deal with the negative effects of the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana.

Inhis view, the time has not come for the government to withdraw funds from that particular fund because there are other sources of revenue for the e-government to embark on any project.

Mr Jinapor said the Minority will support every move by the government to raise funds to deal with the COVID-19 but not when the government intends to take money from the GHF.

As part of efforts to control the outbreak of the coronavirus in Ghana, the Government is considering amending the PRMA to allow the central authority to withdraw funds from the GHF to undertake emergency expenditures in periods of national emergency.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta made the announcement in Parliament on Monday March, 30, 2020.

He revealed that there is an estimated US$591.1 million in the Ghana Heritage Fund.

He told Parliament that : “I will now update the House on measures Government is proposing to close the fiscal gap. Since we are faced with extraordinary circumstances which require extraordinary measures, we would like to propose the following measures for the consideration and support of the House:

“Lower the cap on the Ghana Stabilisation Fund (GSF) from the current US$300 million to US$100 million in accordance with Section 23 (3) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA). This measure will enable the excess amount in the GSF account over the US$100 million cap to be transferred into the Contingency Fund, consistent with Section 23 (4) of the PRMA.

“The amount transferred into the Contingency Fund will be used to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP). Through this process, an estimated GH?1,250 million will be transferred into the Contingency Fund to Fund the CAP. Mr. Speaker, we therefore wish to seek approval from this August House for the Finance Minister to use the Funds which will be available in the Contingency Fund to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme.

“Arrange with BOG to defer interest payments on non-marketable instruments estimated at GH?1,222.8 million to 2022 and beyond;

“Adjust expenditures on Goods & Services and Capex downwards by GH?1,248 million; Secure the World Bank DPO of GH?1,716 million; Secure the IMF Rapid Credit Facility of GH?3,145 million; Reduce the proportion of Net Carried and Participating Interest due GNPC from 30% to 15%;

“Amend the PRMA to allow a withdrawal from the Ghana Heritage Fund to undertake emergency expenditures in periods of national emergency. There is an estimated US$591.1 million in the Ghana Heritage Fund.”

But speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana hosted by Randy Abbey on Tuesday March 31, Mr Jinaopr, who is also a former Deputy Minister of Energy, said : “We stated on the floor of parliament that we 100% agree with the Minister to come with a document and he has done that. With the proposal to cap the Ghana Stabilisation Fund, the Minority said in the interest of the nation we will go with you and approve it.

“In addition to that he wants to go and borrow GHS 3billion, we said we would approve that. He wants the Bank of Ghana to increase even the threshold of borrowing to up to 10 per cent. All of these we support it.

“He now says he wants to amend the law so that he can then go into the Heritage Fund but we said no.

“We won’t be part of that because you can’t take advantage of this COVID-19 issue and deplete all the resources.”

For his part, Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Member of Parliament for Adentan, Yaw Buabeng Asamoa said Ghana is faced with an emergency situation, hence the need to dip hands into the Fund to save the lives of Ghanaians.

He explained that when the citizens have good health, they can work to create more wealth in the future.

“We cannot allow our money to sit when lives are in danger,” he said, adding that “we will do it in a transparent manner because we need to save lives.”

He further explained that all over the world, new financial rule and laws are being promulgated to deal with the negative impact of the COVID-19 on the economy.

“New financial rules being created all over the world to use to keep up the society,” he said.

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