Mr Speaker, all of us in this House know the facts better than my Colleague on the other side.
But having said that, consistency of policy in the international arena is extremely vital for the comity of nations. our leaders, if they have to be respected and trusted to become players on the sub regional, on the international scene and also on the continental scene, they have to be consistent with their policies.
It is not surprising therefore, that President Kufuor became ECOWAS Chairman twice, AU Chair and Ghana was also given a seat at G-8 meetings and on the UN Security Council. The 2013 Budget Statement recognises in paragraphs 718 to 721, the importance of pursuing goals of maintaining peace and stability in our sub-region and on a continental level and committing our country to the shared values of good governance, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights.
These values, as we are all aware, have for decades been held by the New Patriotic Party and its antecedents as being non-negotiable inalienable rights. Fortunately, Ghana has since 1992 agreed that if we wish to move forward as a country, all of us must share these values.
Mr Speaker, after all, good governance is about how we use our resources for the benefit of the broad masses of our people. The generality of Ghanaians must benefit from the resources that we use but these resources have to be used in accordance with due process and law. In this House, next week, we shall pass into law, an Appropriation Bill which sets the limit or ceiling on the expenditures Government will make in the course of the year. Any extra expenditure over and above this, without approval from Parliament, breaks the law.
From the Budget Statement of 2013, it is clear that the Government of Ghana has proceeded to spend GH¢2.8 billion without authority of Parliament. This is massive, in view of the fact that in July, 2012, the same Government came before us with a supplementary budget totalling GH¢2.6 billion. Mr Speaker, it appears that this House is losing its power of the purse and in fiscal matters, we ought to show greater oversight over the Executive. And we are indeed, condoning illegal acts of this Government.
Mr Speaker, in the context of foreign policy, which country, which company or which entity would want to deal with a Government that passes a law and then proceeds to break that law with impunity? Perhaps, Mr Speaker, we need a multi- party framework to deal with this particular situation.
Mr Speaker, let us talk about economic diplomacy, a concept which has been given space in paragraphs 722 and 723 of the Budget Statement. I commend the Hon Minister for articulating this idea of economic diplomacy and for continuing the process began in 2001 after President Kufuor took office. But Mr Speaker, the fruit of economic diplomacy can only be realised where the domestic economic policy is fair, is sound and is implementable.
Mr Speaker, what do we see in the domestic policy space? A Government which misses all its fiscal targets in a single year, a Government which has no ability whatsoever to realise the estimates it had made with regard to revenue, and a Government with a voracious appetite to overspend and borrow to the extent that in a single year, the cost of borrowing has
increased from 11 per cent to 23 per cent. Mr Speaker, so, the private sector of our country has no space to borrow and where they are able to access credit, they do so at punitive rates between 27 per cent and 33 per cent. Besides, we in this country, have no market for long-term funds. We cannot pretend that we are doing something right; we are not.
In the area of accumulation of arrears and indebtedness of government to utility and petroleum sector companies, and with our budget deficits, others have clearly spoken to this subject and I would not belabour the point. Today, in Ghana, we use the word “challenge” as an euphemism for systems failure.
This dum so dum so phenomenon, water shortages, absence of gas, the long queues at gas pumps -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, the limited manufacturing capacity of this country is being destroyed by this and when public sector managers of utilities cannot programme their routine and periodic maintenance schedules to the extent that even filters cannot be bought, filters cannot be replaced, and instead of conducting managerial and technical audit, we are talking about a challenge.
Mr Speaker, with all these, the ends of economic diplomacy cannot be served. We go out there looking for investment. We go out there looking for opportunities for our country. Who is going to bring his investment into a country which is unable or unwilling to do simple basic things?
Mr Speaker, the business of government is not business. The business of government is creating an enabling environment in which the private sector can prosper and create wealth -- [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, the enabling environment must assure the country of good security and at least, at the very least, uninterrupted electricity supply and water provision.