Members of Parliament have attended a three-day workshop on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government.
The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the details of the budget, make necessary inputs and adjustments and offer suggestions to ensure that it responded to the needs of Ghanaians.
In attendance was the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, stakeholders from the various sectors of the economy and resource persons.
Some of the topics selected for the discussion included policy underpinnings of the budget – general analysis, overview of the budget – macro economic and fiscal management, what to consider in analysing the sectoral budgets, employment generation and public sector wages, and revenue mobilisation and debt sustainability.
In his keynote address to open the workshop here in Ho on Saturday, Mr Bagbin said there was a growing importance of the oversight function of Parliament in contemporary governance across the world; a situation he said cannot be down-played and called on the lawmakers to stamp their authority as a co-equal arm of government.
According to Mr Bagbin, with both the governing New Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Congress all having 137 seats each in the 275-House, a lot was expected of the legislature.
In his estimation, the Ghanaian politician has become an endangered species for reason of the perception of the citizenry that the politician does not work in their interest but for “our own” parochial interests.
This perception, he said, was supported by copious evidence, hence the time had come for the confidence of the people to be won back with diligent work in scrutinising the budget and taking decisions that respond to the needs of the people.
“Hon Members, please we have the unique opportunity as a hung Parliament with the Speaker not from the party in power, to win back the confidence of the citizenry by giving them governance that reflects their collective will.
“Our governments appear to be increasingly finding in the presentation of the budget, an orderly way of living beyond its mean: an orderly and lawful way of spending what ought not to be spent. It is our responsibility as legislators to pull the breaks on that. We have the power to do so. We have the power. This workshop must mark the beginning of a deepened focus on prudence in government expenditure,” he urged.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on his part said the budget addresses areas including youth employment, climate change, security, infrastructure, debt sustainability, cost of living amongst other sectors of the economy.
Expressing worry about the rising debt levels of the country, Mr Ofori-Atta said the medium term remains bright and that the austerity measures to return the economy to pre-coronavirus levels would generate three per cent of the GDP.
The Majority Leader and NPP MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said resource persons had been assembled to take the participants through the various topics of discussion.
He entreated the participants to put in their all for informed contribution when the House resumes tomorrow for the debate.
Mr Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 presented the budget statement in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution. An Appropriation Bill is expected to be passed before the House adjourns in December.
FROM JULIUS YAO PETETSI, HO