Consider other views in implementing budget

Parliament will soon debate the 2023 Budget and Economic Policy presented to it on Thursday by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta.

However, as it is the case every year, even before the legislators officially discharge that responsibility, certain views would have been expressed.

Such views, interestingly, start pouring out from both the Minority and Majority in Parliament or members of the ruling and other political parties.

Therefore, as expected,immediately after the presentation of the budget yesterday, the Minority urged Ghanaians to brace up for what they called “maximum hardship” in the 2023 fiscal year. 

They said the measures outlined in the “Nkabom” budget had no solution to the current economic challenges the citizenry were experiencing. 

They said the measures outlined in the budget were cosmetic and that they were going to introduce extreme austerity in 2023 that would lead to hardship worse than what occurred in 1979 and 1983. 

They said, for instance, that the youth would be hit the hardest because of the freeze on public-sector employment vis-à-visthe already 50 per cent unemployment rate among them.

Rebutting the claims by the Minority, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Kumah, said the budget would help Ghana achieve debt sustainability and that the measures the government intended to pursue would eventually benefit the people as they would enjoy some relief soon.

The views from other sources are countless and varied.

Yesterday, the Ghanaian Times took the views of two consultants in the business sector in the country on the 2023 Budget Statement.

The two were a chartered tax consultant, Mr Maxwell Atila, and an entrepreneur and management consultant, Dr Bernard AgyeiAryee.

Mr Atila did not mince words as he described the budget as “not a good one” because it was not fair to Ghanaians.

He said, for instance, that due to the current difficult economic situation in the country, where salaries had not been increased, people’s working capitals and disposable incomes, as well as the capitals of companies had already dwindled, there was no need to increase VAT and withdraw the threshold of GH₵100 that attracted no E-Levy charges in daily mobile money transactions.

Being a little benevolent, DrAgyeiAryee said the 2023 budget was an attempt by the government to cut down on expenditure, especially in the public sector, but that alone was not enough and so a lot needed to be done in order to achieve fiscal discipline.

He called for major structural reforms in the public sector to ensure fiscal indiscipline and that the country would bounce back when the International Monetary Fund deal went through.

As for ordinary people on the street, they want the government to adopt measures to reduce prices of goods and services for less-privileged individuals and households especially to have some relief.

They complain that having just two meals a day has become a daunting task.

Some of the views expressed may be palatable whereas others may not, but this is the time for the government to acknowledge the reality and do the needful to ameliorate the suffering of the people.

No doubt, the suffering is a threat to national security and peace and tranquility.

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