‘Dialogue, resolve differences to avert governance shutdown’

Two experts have advised Members of Parliament (MPs) to speedily dialogue and resolve their differences regarding the 2022 Budget Statement and Financial Policy for its approval in the interest of the citizenry.

This is to prevent halt in governance, stimulate recovery of the economy from ravaging impact of COVID-19 pandemic, and lessen rising cost of living.

“The Majority should dialogue with the Minority and arrive at a consensus-building and it will be a win-win for the country, otherwise, the longer they delay in implementing the budget, the problems and challenges will increase for us.

“The situation if it persists, investor confidence will wade, and it will have repercussions on our exchange rate, cost of doing business, income and livelihoods,” they cautioned.

The experts were Professor Justice Bawole, a governance expert, and Professor Peter Quartey, an economist, gave the advice regarding consequences of rejection of budget by Parliament last Friday, spoke at post-budget review programme organised by Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) in Accra.

Prof. Bawole, Dean of University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), observed that it was important both sides sat down and discussed it and bring new budget plan and raised concern about silence of budget on Keta tidal waves.

“If both sides of the House did not reach consensus for new budget to be approved before January 1, we are going to have grinding of governance and there can be quarterly approval the Executive can seek to get work going, but that will not be helpful.

“This is not just political issue, it is life and death for some people, incidentally happens to be strong hold of opposition, and clear blackout we do not expect to happen in the budget following such major disaster,” Prof. Bawole stated.

He indicated that for the survival of the nation, the Executive should go back and engage in consultations, negotiations and ensure they could get Minority along and get the budget approved.

Prof. Bawole urged the government to realign the budget and take off some items Parliament does not consider priority even though the Executive may want them and move funding into other areas.

Prof. Quartey, Director of ISSER, suggested reduction of e-levy from proposed 1.75 per cent to range of 0.5 to 0.75 per cent since citizens were not against payment of e-levy but found rate high and strong, political interests on the parts of both Majority and Minority, and lack of broad consultation contributed to rejection of budget.

The Minority in Parliament voted to reject the budget after Majority walked out in protest of escort of Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, by Marshalls from the House following a vote which denied his request to meet leadership of both sides to engage in Minority’s concerns on budget and unhappy that the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Asiedu Nketia, remained in public gallery during a voice vote.

According to the Minority, they rejected the budget because of proposed 1.75 per cent electronic levy (e-levy), and omission of investment in Blekusu Sea Defence in the Volta Region, want withdrawal of Agyapa Royalty Mineral Agreement, reconstruction of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s acquisition of stake from Aker Energy, AGM Petroleum, and review benchmark value for imports. -GNA

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