Parliament debates on mid-year budget review

Parliament yesterday started debating on the mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic policy of government presented by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta last Thursday.

Participating the Member of Parliament for the Yapei/Kusawgu Constituency, John Abdulai Jinapor, charged Ghanaians to vote out the governing New Patriotic Party at the December polls. 

The MP said despite claims by the NPP in opposition that they possessed the magic wand to manage the economy; their tenure has rather seen worsening economic indicators.

Mr Jinapor said the “incompetence” of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government has been manifested by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This economy is in a state of coma, but there is only one thing we can do as a country and that is the people of Ghana must reject this incompetent government which has demonstrated that it has no clue on how to deal with challenges. 

“When we had the energy sector crisis, South Africa had a similar challenge. They grew in the negative, but we grew by 3.6 per cent of GDP and that is where leadership and innovation comes to play. 

“It is obvious and clear that contrary to the promise we received from the Akufo-Addo government, they have failed and the failure is unprecedented in the history of Ghana. 

“Come December 7, 2020, the people of Ghana have no choice than to boot these people out of office so that we (the NDC) who know how to manage the economy better will come and manage it better,” he said. 

According to him, despite reporting to the country that the budget deficit for this year was 4.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, the actual deficit stood at 7.1 per cent. 

He said though the median growth projection for Sub-Saharan Africa by the International Monetary Fund was negative 3.2 of GDP and negative 2.9 per cent of GDP for the ECOWAS region, Ghana’s peers are projected to grow in the positive. 

He cited Benin to have been projected to grow by 4.5 per cent of its GDP, Burkina 2.0, Central African Republic 1.0, Côte d’Ivoire 2.7, Mali 1.5 and Tanzania 2.0. 

“And so if Ghana, despite this huge budget deficit and debt levels, is expected to grow by 0.9, that is abysmal,” he said. 

At the time the opposition National Democratic Congress was leaving office in 2017, he said the fishing sector, which is now growing at 1.7 per cent, grew 3.1 per cent under their watch. 

He said whiles the manufacturing sector during the NDC’s tenure grew by 7.9, same was growing today at 6.3, adding that the construction sector now growing at negative 4.3, saw a growth of 8.4 when they were in office. 

“Our debt levels were 56.7 but today the Finance Minister concedes that he has increased our debt to 67 per cent of GDP. We were depreciating by way of exchange rate by eight per cent, but at the end of 2019, the cedi depreciated by 13 per cent. The financial sector when were leaving was growing at eight per cent but you are growing at 1.6 per cent. 

“Mr Speaker, this is an abysmal performance,” he said and posited that “in extraordinary times, that is where we see leadership and that is when we think outside the box.”

He wondered why government revenue has dropped to GH$53 billion yet government wants to borrow over GH¢50 billion to finance its deficit. 

“No wonder today, our debt is GH¢258 billion from GH¢120 billion in 2017,” he said, adding that interest payment on the country’s total debt stock had jumped from GH¢10 billion to GH¢26 billion last year.


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