Finance Ministry starts settling GH¢3.4 billion govt debt
The Ministry of Finance has begun the process of settling its indebtedness of GH¢3.4 billion to some companies as part of efforts to save them from distress.
The payment affects more than 900 different invoices submitted by the affected companies, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, told the Daily Graphic in an interview last Friday.
Settlement of the arrears began on August 1, 2017, after audits had been conducted on the submitted invoices.
Accordingly, Mr Ofori-Atta said he had authorised the release of GH¢25m for the implementation of the first phase of the programme.
He said the move was in fulfilment of the government’s commitment to provide support to distressed companies as announced in the 2017 budget and mid-year review.
Mr Ofori-Atta recalled that the government proposed in the 2017 budget statement to pay 20 per cent of the outstanding claims of GH¢3,428,691,341.64 compiled from 2016.
The minister categorised outstanding commitments into three groups to guide the payment process.
To this end, 100 per cent payment will be made for arrears ranging between GH¢1 and GH¢100,000, while those between GH¢100,000 and GH¢1 milllion will receive up to 50 per cent payment.
Additionally, arrears above GH¢1 million will receive up to 15 per cent settlement.
The minister gave an assurance that outstanding arrears would be cleared by the end of 2019.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the amount would be disbursed in accordance with agreed modalities to ensure that the support was well targeted to generate the desired and expected outcomes.
“In developing the modalities, consideration was given to the age and amount and also the principles of fairness and equity,” Mr Ofori-Atta explained.
In a letter dated July 31, 2017, he urged his colleague ministers, chief directors of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), the Auditor-General and the Controller and Accountant-General, to co-operate to make the exercise a success.
Mr Ofori-Atta, on July 31, 2017, painted a bright future for the country's economy, indicating that it was stable and on the path of recovery.
Presenting the mid-year fiscal policy review of the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament, he said the government’s policies and programmes were yielding the expected results and, in some cases, exceeding expectations for the first half of the year.
He said because of the prudent economic policies, improved fiscal discipline and competent management of the economy, "The macro-indicators for the first half of the year are pointing in the right direction."
"Typical of the strengthening performance is the fact that for the first six months of the new Akufo-Addo government, both the fiscal deficit and primary balance outperformed their targets.
"The exchange rate is stabilising, inflationary pressures have eased and interest rates are trending downwards. Progressively, confidence is being restored in the economy and we are confident that this positive trend will be sustained in the months and years ahead," he said.