Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has provided information that once again proves the government’s penchant for exorbitant expenditure despite being in debt distress, as announced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In his recent exposé, Mr Ablakwa indicated that the government budgeted a colossal amount of US$8,506,450 for the Black Stars’ participation in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.
“This hefty US$ 8.5 million translates into a colossal GHS105 million at the current exchange. Note that the GHS105 million is entirely separate from the GHS27.9 million spent on the qualifiers,” the North Tongu legislator wrote.
Mr Ablakwa referenced an intercepted letter from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, dated 2nd January 2024 which was addressed to the Minister of Finance requesting part payment of US$5,071,840.36 from the total Black Stars budget of US$8,506,450.00.
The request letter in issue is signed by Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. William Kartey on behalf of the Minister, Hon. Mustapha Ussif, he added.
Should Ghana not have been prematurely kicked out from the AFCON tournament and won this year’s trophy, the Black Stars would have earned $7 million.
For Mr. Ablakwa, it is beyond reason that the government would plan to spend more than it would generate from the tournament. He is also peeved by the fact that Zambia approved a total budget of only US$ 2.1 million for its national team.
“What this means is that even if the Black Stars had won the trophy, the public officials who put this budget together were determined to ensure that Ghana made losses of over US$ 1.5 million.
“I have been wondering how government and FA officials in a country like Zambia can approve a total budget of only US$2.1million for the same AFCON competition and be fine, but Ghana has to live large and ostentatious — a bankrupt country undergoing debt restructuring and unable to construct resettlement homes for victims of VRA’s catastrophic spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong dams.
“A painful addition to the scandalous GHS105 million budget is that it did not guarantee success on the pitch either. It would be interesting to know what thought processes went into a scary US$8.5million budget for a bankrupt country that has defaulted on its loans and is desperately seeking an IMF bailout,” he added.signpost .co