Chairman of Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, has warned that the country would be thrown into a state of chaos if the House agrees with the Minority to reject the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government.
The immediate effect of the action being advocated by the Minority, Mr Kwarteng, NPP MP for Obuasi West, said would mean that government would have to prepare and present a new budget to the House for consideration and appropriation before the end of the year, a task he said “looks impossible.”
The Minority has indicated its resolve to reject the budget because the new taxes introduced would worsen the economic conditions of Ghanaians.
Key among the Minority’s indignation are the proposed E-Levy, which would impose a 1.75 per cent charge on all electronic transactions, the reversal of the benchmark values, and the intended return of the botched Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal, amongst others.
But seconding the motion moved by the Finance Minister for the budget to be approved, Mr Kwarteng, a former Deputy Minister of Finance, said the measures outlined in the budget are bold steps taken by government to address long challenges of the economy.
“Those who have suggested that we should reject this budget clearly are telling us what is out of place. I pray this House to approve this budget so that we can consider the elements in it.
“If we don’t do that, at the beginning of 2022, there would be no appropriation, public sector workers cannot be paid, government cannot honour its international obligations, and we would throw this country into chaos.
“Let those saying we should reject the budget repent of what they are thinking about. This budget is seeking to address a chronic problem that has affected Ghana’s economy for a long time,” he urged.
Tracing data from 2006, Mr Kwarteng said the gap between revenue and expenditure kept widening and that loans had been used over the years to fill the gap resulting in huge debt around the neck of the country.
From a paltry 16 per cent of total revenue to pay for interests on loans in 2006, he said the figure had reached 47 per cent of revenue.
This trend, Mr Kwartengnoted, was not sustainable hence the bold decision to deal with it once and for all.
“Of course (the trend is not sustainable) and it is the reason government has taken the bold step to deal with what has become a chronic difficulty of this economy. That is why I invite the House to support…….the interventions in this budget to deal with a problem that has been bedeviling our economy,” he prayed the House.
He said knowing the importance of revenue to the development of the country which citizens would unfortunately have to bear, government has proposed interventions to protect the funds from leakage.
Mr Kwarteng said President Nana AddoDankwa Akufo-Addo-led government remained committed to the welfare and wellbeing of Ghanaians and won’t impose hardship on them, but take decisions that are in the utmost interest of the country and its citizens.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI