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2019 Budget Full of Empty Assertions, no Solution– Kwame Agbodza

Hon Kwame Governs Agbodza, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Adaklu, has described the 2019 Budget presented to parliament by the Minister for Finance last Thursday November 15, as a litany of false claims, empty assertions and bogus promises.

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, told parliament government has targeted to grow the economy by 7.6 percent in 2019, achieve single-digit inflation of 8 percent, fiscal deficit of 4.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and primary surplus of 1.2 percent of GDP.

According to him, government is also going to invest massively in road, railways and air transport, from a variety of funding sources.

“Mr. Speaker, infrastructure, both hard and soft, is the backbone of economic development and growth, as well as a source of jobs and wealth for a majority of people. In a rapidly changing global marketplace, traditional infrastructure like electricity and power, transport and logistics, water and sanitation, roads, highways, and railways have combined with new, mostly soft infrastructure like digitisation of government services to enable emerging economies like ours leapfrog the development path to prosperity.”

He added, “Mr. Speaker, this Government, is committed to embarking on an integrated infrastructural development programme across the country that will move goods, food items and people from one location to another that will create jobs and prosperity and ensure value for money for Ghana as well as position Ghana as the transportation, energy and logistics hub in the region.”

But reacting to the Budget statement, Mr Agbodza, who is the Minority Ranking member on Roads and Transport Committee of parliament, held the view that while the Finance Minister was fictitiously asserting that the country’s economy had made progress under the New Patriotic Party, hard economic reality shows that the nation had become more economically disadvantaged.

He said there were no evidence based empirical proofs to show that the extant 2017 and 2018 budgets have been implemented optimally going by the declining standards of living by millions of Ghanaians.

According to the lawmaker, in the last 22 months under the NPP government,there have been more job-loses and mismanagement of the economy than in recorded history of Ghana and wondered whether the previous budgets were implemented for the benefits of aliens or for real Ghanaians.

He said Ghanaians are living from hands to mouths in their millions due to grinding poverty and lack of effective economic empowerment and social support programmes to mitigate the unwarranted and horrendous human sufferings.

Besides, Mr Agbodza said evidence from all across Ghana shows dilapidated situations of core strategic national infrastructures such as roads network, educational sector, primary healthcare sector and importantly, the widening chasm between the few rich and over 27 million heavily impoverished Ghanaians.

He pointed that, there is clearest evidence that the 2017/2018 budget have not been sufficiently implemented or that the fund released might have disappeared into private pockets of government appointees.

The Minority MP said, perhaps the government needs to be reminded that the nation is facing serious infrastructure deficit and economic challenges, as banks are collapsing, thousands of workers laid off and unemployment skyrocketing.

Giving his overall impression about the 2019 budget statement, the Adaklu lawmaker told the paper that the fiscal document provided no hope for a better economy in the coming year.
Mr Agbodza noted that the 2019 budget failed to state how Ghanaians would be relieved from the current economic hardships, adding that there was nothing said in the 2019 budget that Ghanaians have not heard in the 2018 and described the Budget as hopeless and nothing more than just rhetoric

“I am disappointed because the budget to me is empty. It is empty because the fiscal table does not support a lot of the talks,” he said, pointing, unemployment and abandoned roads projects, among others were indication that the government has no solution.”

“This is just a symbolic budget, nothing is real. In fact for the last two years, that has been the rhetoric and we never saw what they said they were going to do. All the roads and other projects mentioned in the budget are projects either commenced or funds secured by the NDC before leaving power.”

“Since 2017 till date, they have being recycling same without any tangible plan. They borrowed and have nothing to show for what they use the funds for. I can’t see anything , I will like to hear and see when the Volivo bridge will be fix, the Eastern Corridor road will be fix, the cocoa roads will be fix,” Mr Agbodza intimated.

The NDC MP opined that, the Finance Minister deliberately failed to mention that the NPP administration has returned our beloved country to a debtor nation by accumulating over GHS40 billion debt through which he had mortgaged the future of the country.

“The Finance Minister also failed to respond to the fact that the government harsh economic policies has caused a dearth in local and foreign direct investment, leading to over 10 million job losses,” he stated.

Similarly, he said the Finance Minister failed to state that due to their incompetence, the cedi has fallen down to the dollar as against what they come to met in 2016, adding that the budget had no words for the increase in the price of fuel as well as the hike in the prices of staple foods and essential commodities in Ghana under their misrule.

The Adaklu MP also expressed his disapproval of government decision to provide seed funds for the construction of a national Cathedral at the time citizens are dying out if lack basic healthcare under the “no bed syndrome

He said this marked the level of reckless expenditure under the current government expenses of the tax payers whose sweat are not been appreciated, stating, “What President Akufo Addo and his government should note is that Ghanaians are no longer swayed by the false performance claims of his administration.”

Source: www.tgerepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba

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