Minister has fully complied with these two provisions and for that, we must commend him.
Nevertheless, Mr Speaker, I would want to draw your attention to one other fact, which is important to Parliament. It appears that the Auditor-General is still not providing audited accounts of the Petro- leum Revenue Account. For 2011/12, we do not have that; so, the Minister cannot fully comply with it and we cannot fully comply with our job. So, I urge you to invite the Auditor-General to bring the audited accounts to Parliament.
Mr Speaker, a few months ago, this side of the House had an occasion to have a press conference in which we described the true state of the economy, when all along, the impression was being given that all was fine. Soon thereafter, to his credit, the Hon Minister went public to say that times were indeed, hard. The President followed suite, to face reality and started talking about challenges in the economy; and he is reported to have said that we were down to the bones.
Mr Speaker, just a few weeks ago, our Vice Presidential Candidate, Dr Maha- mudu Bawumia, at an inaugural lecture at the International Conference Centre, tried to help Ghana by talking about how bringing discipline in the economic management of the economy would help Ghana.
Mr Speaker, some people -- I would not mention names -- who have no idea about economics, tried to vilify him in public, when they themselves are not even capable of understanding what he was talking about. The man was trying to talk as a Ghanaian and bring attention to what we are now facing. Mr Speaker, when we are discussing the economy, it affects all of us; so, all of us should please get serious about it.
Mr Speaker, I am sure you yourself
can attest to the fact that times are indeed, hard when an Hon Member of this House
informed you that Parliament was broke. I think you heard that view coming. What the Hon Minister presented on Tuesday, clearly, is an acceptance of the difficult times that we all face. In fact, it is not a surprise that this year taxes were raised earlier and that, as we all know, there was a directive not to have any new contracts awarded.
Mr Speaker, we are all aware that there
are arrears in the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), National Insur- ance Levy, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) payments, et cetera. Mr Speaker, the truth is that, what we are experiencing in 2013 -- these hard challenging times --are simply a hangover from the excessive over-spending of 2012. The chicken have come home to roost and we must all face realities and deal with it.
Mr Speaker, whether fiscal 2014 would be better than 2013, is yet to be seen. I would come to that later.
Now, Mr Speaker, I would not try to go into all the areas that are in the Budget Statement because of time constraints. I would try to focus on the fiscal situation. This is because that is at the heart of the crisis that we are facing. But Mr Speaker, before I do that, I believe the Chairman and the Hon Minister have already told us that almost all the major macro targets were missed. That in itself, is not good for Ghana.
But what is even worse, Mr Speaker, is that we are in the West African region; we are neighbours; we think that we are the gateway to West Africa. Mr Speaker, guess what? Ghana was last in meeting the primary convergence criteria. We met only one out of four. Liberia, a post-con- flict State did better; Sierra Leone did better; Nigeria met all four. Ghana just met one.
Mr Speaker, it talks about our competi- tiveness and we should not be happy about it. Mr Speaker, Saturday, I was quoted as saying that even in the mediocrity, we are last; it is not good for Ghana. If you go to the secondary convergence criteria, Ghana met two out of six. As a Ghanaian, I am not happy that we seem to be trailing. So, we all need to get serious.
Mr Speaker, let me now focus on per- formance for 2013, situate it in the context, so that we can look at performance for
Mr Speaker, I would not go into the growth rate numbers -- I would just skip that. Let me rather deal with revenue performance. If you take a look at, I be- lieve page 27 -- Mr Speaker, since Hon Members have the book, I would not go through the details. But the picture there is worrying.
Mr Speaker, we missed our targets in all the major revenue categories. This is not me saying it, this is page 27. That is not a good sign at all. The total tax revenue collected was GH¢10 billion as against a target of GH¢12.1 billion. If you go down the list, every tax tag, maybe, except CST, was missed.
Mr Speaker, what is even more wor- rying is that, for the period from January to September, if you calculate the tax to Growth Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, you would get a ratio of 12 per cent. Mr Speaker, 12 per cent. With this perfor- mance, the Government is projecting that by the end of the year, the tax ratio would rise to 18 per cent. Mr Speaker, if in nine months, you had 12 per cent, and you are telling me that in three months, you are going to improve it by 50 per cent, it is only by a miracle. Mr Speaker, it would not happen.
Mr Speaker, if you go to read the budg-
ets from 2009 to date, this is what we are
seeing. Revenue is always over-estimat- ed; then we would come and end up and look for reasons. Mr Speaker, if I were to assign a reason, I might say that it is poor forecasting. But that is not the end of the story.
Mr Speaker, if you missed all these revenue targets and then the Ministry of Finance tells us that they have paid GH¢75 million to a company which was supposed to assist in revenue collection, but did not do their job, then you begin to worry; it is frightening.
Even technical people are not collect- ing, then they are paying money or are be- ing directed to pay money for somebody to assist, who is doing nothing. Mr Speaker, clearly, it is not only poor forecasting, but cases of potential revenue malfeasance. The President himself is alleged to have said that he wants the Minister to delve into the matter. I would want to advise the Minister to seriously look at this matter and bring the report to Parliament. If it is the Subah Info Solutions, what about the other companies? DIC's and so on and so forth. What are they doing? Mr Speaker, this is a Ghanaian matter and we need to look at it very serious. So, it is not surprising that we are getting this performance for revenue.
Mr Speaker, let me now go to expend-
iture. I would not get into the details. On the expenditure side, it is also historical. Go and check 2009 to date; we always under-estimate wages; we always un- der-estimate interest payments, yet those are the two largest expenditure items.
Mr Speaker, let me give you an ex- ample. But before I go, I woud want to debunk a myth that is going round Ghana, that our wage/tax ratio is over 70 per cent. It is not true. Mr Speaker, from 2006 to date, the highest has been 2013, which is 63 per cent. In fact, in 2011, it was 41 per cent. This is coming from various budget