Government stretches to stay current on settlement of statutory obligations

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Deputy Minister of Finance- Cassiel Ato Forson

Deputy Minister of Finance- Cassiel Ato Forson

It has emerged that government has settled statutory arrears due in 2013, ring fenced two quarters arrears due in 2014 and stays current in the release of statutory funds for the year 2015.

The government has been defaulting on the payment of statutory funds due statutory organizations such as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund), the District Assembly?s Common Fund(DACF) and the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) among others and has been in arrears since 2013.

However, answering audit queries from the Auditor General?s Report at the sitting of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, indicated that the Ministry of Finance has taken steps to settle all the arrears due these statutory bodies and to make sure that all statutory payments are done on time.

The Auditor General?s Reports on the Public Accounts of Ghana for the years ending 31st December 2012 and 2013 pointed out a breach of section 22 of Act 551 which provides that?the attributable proportion of the Value Added Tax Revenue shall be paid directly into the GETfund bank account within 30 days of receipt of Value Added Tax revenue.? However there were delays in the release of the funds for more than the stipulated time.

He told the committee that, ??The second half of year arrears due the statutory organizations including the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund), the District Assembly?s Common Fund (DACF) and the National Health Insurance Scheme are being worked on. In fact this month, the GETfund and the District Assembly?s Common Fund, we are going to ring fence the arrears of which we will pay one quarter of last year?s arrears this year and stay current this year.?

The Deputy Minister also indicated that there were no current arrears due as far as District Assembly?s Common Fund and GETfund are concerned and that the government has also paid part of the arrears due last year. ?Mr. Chairman, as we speak we do not have any arrears due on any of these statutory funds. We are up to date on the DACF and we are up to date on the GETfund as well and we have also paid the arrears due in 2014. So if I am to provide update that is the update.?

Mr. Ato Forson further noted that government had settled all arrears for the year 2013 and the first two quarters of the year 2014. He was quick to add that one quarter of the last two quarters of the arrears due in 2014 will be settled by the end of this year while the last quarter will be settled in the first quarter of 2016.

Source: Clement Akoloh, Spynewsagency

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