Former Minister of Roads and Highways, Inusah Fusieni has refuted allegations that his administration secured a loan of GHS1.5billion from the United Bank of Africa for which reason UBA has hijacked the Road Fund.
Mr Fuseini accused Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport, Anthony Karbo of behaving dishonorably by peddling such falsehood in order to deceive Ghanaians.
“It is totally false that we took 1.5billion from the UBA. It is also false to say that we have encumbered the Road Fund in such a way that monies do not now come to the Road Fund, monies don’t come to the Road Fund because of the policy that the NPP government introduced in the 2017 budget,” he told Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Wednesday, 4 October, adding: “The Deputy Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for Lawra Constituency has told an unmitigated lie. In fact, in this particular case it appears to me that he has been dishonorable”.
Mr Fuseini emphasised that the Mahama administration “left GHS600 million in the Fund at the time we were leaving government as of 7 January 2017 in the UBA account”, and, therefore, it was “shameful”, in his estimation, for Mr Karbo to make comments to the effect that there was no money in the account when the Akufo-Addo administration took office.
The opposition lawmaker pointed out that parliament gave the Mahama administration the approval to securitise up to GHS1.5 billion but the government at the time took a loan of GHS1.2 billion.
Explaining further, Mr Fuseini said the evidence and documents in relation to the transactions are all available at the ministry.
He said managers of the Road Fund decided that based on its resources, they decided to go for GHS1.2 billion and securitise collection of the Fuel Levy to amortise the loan.
He said five banks presented bids and management selected UBA after which three accounts were opened at the bank.
Mr Fuseini said one of the accounts was to receive all fuel levy payments from the Controller and Accountant General. A debt service account was also opened to allow UBA to transfer on monthly basis, a certain portion of receipts for the settlement of the debt every quarterly. He also said an operations account was opened to allow UBA to transfer the balance in the escrow account into the Road Fund operations account for the daily operations of the Fund.
“When I took over the Ministry of Roads and Highways in November 2014, the total receipts of Fuel Levy into the Road Fund stood at GHS21million. …Upon the review of the Fuel Levy, we were now expecting about GHS90million to GHS100million monthly based on consumption,” he stated.
He indicated that these monies “were more than enough to amortise the loan on a quarterly basis over a period of two years and also leave in the operating account every month a balance of not less than GHS30 million for the administration of the Fund”.
However, he said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has “fallen on their own dagger” with the current 2017 budget.
“The Minister of Finance came to parliament to cut all statutory funds at 60 per cent of receipts; meaning the Road Fund which was receiving GHS90million to GHS100 million a month was now going to receive 60 per cent of that amount and clearly the unintended consequence of that is the nonpayment of contractors and non-availability of funds to service roads in terms of routine maintenance, periodic maintenance and all that,” he stated.
He is, therefore, admonishing Mr Karbo to scrutinise the problems at the Ministry and find solutions to them rather than peddling what in his view was propaganda.