Gov’t will pay all outstanding arrears by 2019

A Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng explained said the ministry is hoping to complete the auditing of the arrears by October, 2017 so they can start paying.

This was disclosed by the Finance Minister when he presented the mid-year budget review to Parliament.

He argued that the payments should be done within a certain space in order for the government to take care of other needs of the state.

Many have described this target as ambitious.

But speaking to Accra-based Citi FM, a Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng explained said the ministry is hoping to complete the auditing of the arrears by October.

“We are validating some of them and so far some of them have proven to be illegitimate…the validation is being led by the Auditor General. Already, we have started with the statutory ones like the NHIS and GETFund.”

“We are taking steps to ensure not only that arrears development in the economy are suppressed but also those commitments we met, provided they prove to be legitimate, are paid off,” he added.

He said that the government inherited arrears estimated at 7 billion cedis.

Ghana’s debt stock as at May 2017 stood at 137.2 billion cedis.

This translates into a debt to GDP ratio of 67.5%.

Kwarteng is however certain that the government will work to prevent what he describes as the cyclical accumulation of debts.

“Ultimately we are trying to reduce the development of arrears in the economy so that down the years, we do not expect that people do business for government and those people cannot be paid because government says it does not have money. It’s a culture we are confronting in the development of arrears in the economy; it’s a weakness we have tolerated for so long.”

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