Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has sparked wild debate following his announcement on Wednesday evening that Ghana was broke and had been so since the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over power in January 2017.
“You can’t get away from the numbers… As to we declaring, we don’t have money, every Ghanaian knew that we were broke when we came into power…,” said Mr. Ofori-Atta in a rare one-on-one interview on speaking on Citi TV’s ‘Point of View’ on Wednesday.
However, this statement directly contradicts the impression created by the then Candidate Akufo Addo, who popularly proclaimed in Twi that Ghana was sitting on massive wealth, yet the people were impoverished.
Social media has not taken kindly to Mr. Ofori-Atta’s curious prescription that the country was broke after three years of his administration.
In the interview, the finance minister justified his point that Ghana was broke by saying the NPP administration was left to inherit a budget deficit of 9.3% from the erstwhile Mahama government. However, official figures show that the ousted administration left a budget deficit of 7.3 % in 2016. By 2017, after one year of the NPP administration, the deficit had been cured slightly to 6.3%. However, latest figures of budget deficit for 2018, shows that the NPP has spiked deficit to levels similar to what the erstwhile Mahama administration left at 7.2%. In the controversial interview, the minister appears to blame the cash flow predicament of the Akufo Addo administration on this 2016 deficit and attributed the non-payment of over GHC 3.5 billion to road contractors for over two years to this “brokenness”.