Parliament approves 2019 budget, financial policy statement

Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu - Minority Leader

Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu – Minority Leader

PARLIAMENT yesterday unanimously approved the 2019 budget and financial policy statement of government presented to the House a fortnight ago by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

 

By this, government has the authority to withdraw over GH¢73 billion from the Consolidated Fund and other government funds to finance development projects.

 

The approval followed a marathon debate which came to an end yesterday after the Majority and Minority Leaders, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu took their turn to scrutinise the budget.

 

The House would now be expected to approve the allocations to the various Ministries, Department and Agencies before the passage of the Appropriation Bill.

 

As expected, the Minority, even before the fiscal policy was presented, cast doubt about the efficiency of the budget to address the economic challenges of the country and had been on that tangent over the debate period.

 

Expected of them too, the Majority caucus had expressed optimism that the budget, christened ‘Mputuo budget,’ to wit the budget to drive development, would solve the economic problems of the country in the short to medium term.

 

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, leading his caucus’ onslaught on the document described the budget as that of loans.

 

According to Haruna Iddrisu, after contracting over GH¢50 billion over the two years in office, there was nothing to show for it, accusing the government of pumping the monies into unproductive sectors of the economy.

 

In the view of the Tamale South lawmaker, the National Democratic Congress government had demonstrated better use of state funds by investing in capital projects which are self-financing.

 

He observed that the financial sector was crumbling under the government as it continues to record negative growth in the two years of being in office.

 

He berated the government over what he said were failed promises to create jobs and the free Senior High School policy which he said was noble but wobbling.

 

On the social interventions challenge thrown to the opposition party by the Vice President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, some few months ago, Haruna Iddrisu said the NDC was miles ahead of the governing party in bringing social relief to the people by its tradition of infrastructural projects.

 

But Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said their opposite colleagues were manufacturing their own set of facts.

 

The Suame MP said there was no basis engaging the opposition and its elements in a debate as to who are better managers of the Ghanaian economy because “the figures speak for themselves.”

 

The Majority Leader said before assuming political power in January 2017, all aspects of Ghana’s economy had taken a nosedive but for the intervention of the Bawumia led economic management team, the situation would have been worse.

 

For example he said agriculture, industry, manufacturing among others sectors of the economy were on the decline but have picked up and were expected to do better in the ensuing years.

 

He added that whiles the US dollar has depreciated about 18 per cent cumulatively under the watch of the Akufo-Addo-led government, it depreciated by over 200 per cent during the tenure of NDC as inflation and fiscal deficit continue to go down.

 

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu called on Ghanaians to support the Akufo-Addo government as it makes efforts to better the living condition of Ghanaians and disregard the propaganda by their opponents.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

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