The Ministry of Finance has concluded consultations with stakeholders to solicit their views for input onto the 2016 budget.
The last of the consultations was held in Accra, in which stakeholders from civil society and the private sector, gave their inputs for inclusion in the budget.
These organisations include UNI-CEF, Ghana National Association of Teachers, Association of Road Contractors, Chamber of Mines, SEND-Ghana, African Centre for Energy Policy, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Ghana Printers and Paper Converters Association and ISODEC.
Opening the workshop, the Deputy minister of Finance, Ato Forson, said the Ministry was satisfied with the input given by civil society and private sector to the budget.
“I wish to commend you for the immense and invaluable support we have received from you over the years in the process of formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the national budget,” he said.
The deputy minister said the consultations were meant to provide opportunity for the private sector and civil society as well as individuals to make suggestions to enrich the budget, stressing that the input from the civil society and the private was so important, since it contributed to shaping government policy towards promoting national development.
He said in line with the requirement of Article 179 (1) of the Constitution and Regulation152 (1) of the Financial Administration Regulation, the ministry had issued guidelines for the preparation of the 2016-2018 budget to all ministries, departments and agencies as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
The deputy minister urged the participants to submit their proposals and participate actively in the deliberations as well as provide constructive feedback to be considered in the preparation of the 2016 budget to promote a national development agenda.
The guidelines, Mr Forson said, had been posted on the ministry’s website and it specified the constraints within which the MDAs, were to prepare their 2016 submissions.
He said the government was committed to promoting budget transparency and accountability and ensuring prudent management of the country’s resources to promote economic development.
He assured the gathering that the government was mindful of the need to improve upon the delivery of services in all the sectors of the economy and would not shirk its responsibility in ensuring that all the citizens had access to their basic needs.
“The challenges we have had in the last year or two, due mainly to decline in oil revenues and fall in commodity prices, are being tackled with all the zeal to ensure that the economy is put back on track and I’m happy to inform you that good progress is being made,” Mr Forson said.
Mrs Victoria Adongo of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, in her presentation, appealed to the government to increase funding to the fertilizer subsidy programme.
She said the Agriculture Mechanisation project should be expanded to include farm implement such as mower, millers, and processors.
The Ghana National Association of Teachers also asked that, teaching materials should be supplied at the beginning of the term and not the middle or the end to help teachers perform their duties effectively.
The association called for the provision of teacher’s quarters and social amenities in rural areas to help teachers who were posted there.
SEND-Ghana on its part, called for friendly educational infrastructure, which catered for the needs of the physically challenged, to enhance teaching and learning.
It also called on the government to allocate resources to the Ministry of Health for the collection of health data to promote policy planning.
By Kingsley Asare and Janet Opoku-Asantewaa