The Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament on Tuesday accused the erstwhile Mahama administration of over-bloating its 2016 budget by GH¢8 billion.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government also increased the national debt to GH¢122 billion from the GH¢9.5 billion it inherited from the Kufuor government in 2009.
The NPP says for overstepping its 2016 budget, the NDC government needs to apologise to Ghanaians for its reckless spending.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, said former President John Mahama’s government broke the Appropriation Act 2016 when it spent over GH¢51 billion instead of the approved GH¢43 billion.
Mr Agyarko, who made the claim on the floor of the house, described the recent outcry by NDC MPs over government’s 2017 budgetary allocation to the presidency as misguided.
“If you look at the total expenditure with the revised version, it came out with GH¢43 billion, but it [NDC government] spent well over GH¢51 billion,” he said
Parliament approved, under a certificate of urgency, the Appropriation Act for the 2016 fiscal year, committing GH¢50,109,851,734.00 from the Consolidated Fund for government to carry out its financial obligations for the year.
Out of the GH¢50.1 billion, GH¢14 billion was earmarked for wages and salaries, pensions, gratuities and social security.
But former Deputy Finance Minister, Casiel Ato Forson, described Mr Agyarko’s claim as baseless.
“I can say on authority that as a deputy minister of finance, the then administration never broke the Appropriation Act,” he said. “We stayed within the Appropriation Act.”
The Ajumako Enyan Essiam MP said the expenditure Mr Agyarko was making reference to had to do with commitment of the previous government and not cash spent.
“The appropriation is on cash basis so you cannot compare the two and draw the conclusion that we broke the law,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, appealed to his colleagues to collaborate to put an end to the practice of governments’ overspending their budget.
“The issue that the MP for Ayawaso is raising is that over the years, we have allowed governments to spend beyond what we approve in the Appropriation Act. So we need to look at it as a house,” he charged.
He explained that if at any time any government needs to overspend its budget, parliament has to be notified for additional money to be approved for it.