Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Parliament has approved the Finance Minister’s request for a suspension of the Fiscal Responsibility Act after the Minority withdrew its opposition.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta had called for the act to be censored and removed if the country’s budget deficit hits more than 5% of GDP, unless under extraordinary circumstances.

The Minority had also served notice it will trigger processes for the minister to face sanctions.

But the House on Thursday approved a suspension of the act without any objection.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told JoyNews the minister should be forgiven because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But he said new figures from International Monetary Fund (IMF) show the Minister breached the act last year and that cannot be forgiven.

“Our deficit for 2019 was in the region of 7%. So it means that someone ought to have been sanctioned under the Fiscal Responsibility Act. They were hiding the details from us. They came to Parliament with 4.1 or 4.7%. Its the IMF who got to expose it and exposed further arrears in the banking sector which has not been added to the government expenditure and also energy sector-related expenditure,” he said.

Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah told the house the extra-spending is necessary to keep the economy intact in the light of Covid-19.

“The committee has observed that the Covid-19 pandemic, an unforeseen economic condition, has adversely affected every aspect of economic activity and created uncertainty as well as weakened economic growth,” he said.

He further explained that “the committee is satisfied that the conditions president for granting approval for suspension of the rules under Section 33 has been complied with.