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Ofori-Atta’s hide & seek ends today …finally faces Parliament to answer 16 urgent questions

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The hearts of many Ghanaians would be broken one more time if Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta finds yet another reason to avoid appearing before Parliament today to answer some 16 urgent questions about the country’s finances and whether the Government intends to return to the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance.

The urgent questions have been tabled by Members of Parliament from both sides of the Chamber.

The Thursday June 16, when Ken Ofori-Atta was scheduled to appear before Parliament but did not show up, Members lamented over the seeming trend and Mr. Speaker had to put all businesses from the Finance Ministry on hold until the Minister appears to answer the pending urgent questions plus a question on the COVID-19 expenditure.

“Until he [Ken Ofori-Atta] comes to respond to the questions and to submit the statement giving an explanation as to how the money has been applied, we will not entertain any business from that Ministry,” Speaker Alban. Bagbin noted.

Parliament had to reschedule Ken Ofori-Atta to appear today, Wednesday June 22. The general feeling is that Mr. Ofori-Atta has been feet-dragging over invitations to appear before the House, prompting accusations that he is playing a ‘hide and seek’ game with Members.

Ofori-Atta’s 3 Prayers

Parliament’s decision to put all businesses from the Finance Ministry on hold is somewhat disturbing because the Minister is seeking some three serious requests from the House but the decision means until he appears in the Plenary to answer the 16 urgent questions, his requests would not be granted.

For instance, Ken Ofori-Atta is requesting Parliament to adopt the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for an amount of €75,000,000.00 for the COVID-19 Health Response Ghana Project.

Ken Ofori-Atta is also requesting approval for a Syndicated Term Loan Facility Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Joint Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners for up to $250,000,000.00 to finance the 2022 Budget.

He is also requesting a Loan Facility Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the African Export-Import Bank for up to $750,000,000.00 to finance the 2022 Budget.

Pending Urgent Questions

Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta is expected to provide answers to the 16 urgent questions, plus an account on the COVID-19 funds.

The MP for Wa East, Mr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw has tabled a question for Ken Ofori-Atta to tell Parliament when Government would clear the large debt owed partners and suppliers to ensure availability of subsidised fertilizer in this farming season.

Below are some of the urgent questions and the names of the Members who tabled them:

Ms. Sheila Bartels (Ablekuma North) (NPP): What is the current status of funding for the construction of Phase Two of the Tema Motorway?
Infrastructure (Roads)

Mr. Sylvester Tetteh (Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro) (NPP): What are the interventions the Ministry is employing to clamp the rising price of fuel?
Energy/Cost of Living

Mr. Edward Abambire Bawa (Bongo) (NDC): What the Ministry is doing about imposed taxes and levies on petroleum products and the depreciation of the Cedi to slow down the fuel price build up?

Mr. Vincent Oppong Asamoah (Dormaa West) (NDC): Would the Ministry consider sourcing additional funding for infrastructural development at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani?

Mr. George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan (Cape Coast South) (NDC): Which companies were used as Local Transaction Advisors and Local Legal Advisors for the 2021 Eurobond and how much were they paid?

Mr. George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan (Cape Coast South) (NDC): How much has Government has realised (net proceeds) from the Eurobond issued in 2021, and how much it has spent on fees and related road show expenses?

Mr. Murtala Muhammed Ibrahim (Tamale Central) (NDC): How much revenue the State generated from the sale of power to neighbouring countries?

Ms. Theresa Lardi Awuni (Okaikwei North) (NDC): How much was raised in total from Government Bonds since 2017, who are the transaction advisors and book runners, and how was paid to each?

Mr. Frank Annoh-Dompreh (Nsawam-Adoagyiri) (NPP): How will the 2022 budget ensure that all the major issues of increased taxes, increased fuel prices and unmaintained roads be tackled efficiently?

Dr. Stephen Amoah (Nhyiaeso) (NPP): What plans the Government has established to reduce the debt stock which stood at 76.1% in the first half of this year?

Mr. Kwadjo Asante (Suhum) (NPP): If the Government intends to return to the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance?

Mr. Collins Adomako-Mensah (Afigya Kwabre North) (NPP): What assurances the Ministry can give that Government has not abandoned projects started by previous administrations.

Ms. Dakoa Newman (Okaikwei South) (NPP): An update on the progress and impact of the Ghana CARES programme as well as the plans to raise a US$100 Billion fund aimed at revitalizing the economy, post COVID-19.

Mr. Frank Annoh-Dompreh (Nsawam-Adoagyiri) (NPP): How much has been invested in fighting COVID-19 and how has it impacted economic recovery?

Mr. Paul Apreku Twum-Barimah (Dormaa East) (NPP): An update on the creation of one (1) million jobs stated in the mid-year budget since the Government payroll is full.

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