The Member of Parliament for Ho West , Hon pEmmanuel Kwesi Bedzrah, has pooh-poohed the 2019 budget statement presented to Parliament on Thursday, November 15, 2018, labelled it as “a Chinese budget, only full of slogans and propaganda.
According to the lawmaker, the budget presented nothing new, given that it failed to outline how it would address the challenges Ghanaians are battling with.
He believes the 2019 budget of New Patriotic Party (NPP) led- government, which hinged on Loans from China, was only full of slogans and propaganda and labeled it as “Chinese Budget.”
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 the Finance Minister, government is also going to invest massively in road, railways and air transport, from a variety of funding sources.
But contributing to the Budget debate on thee floor of parliament, Hon Bedzrah, who is Ranking Member on Parliament’s Government Assurances Committee, questioned the government commitment to improving the country’s housing infrastructure.
According to him, the Ministry of Works and Housing has failed to reduce the housing deficit and that very little has been done under the Akufo-Addo administration.
He attributed the poor performance by the Ministry of Works and Housing to the inadequate allocation of resources to the Ministry.
“How do you expect the infrastructure ministry to do? All goes into consumption. So my friend goes to the office, he sits down, he doesn’t do any work. That is why I am advocating that the Ministry of Works and Housing should be closed down because there is no work there for him to do.”
“If we want this nation to grow; if we want the economy to grow then let us allocate more funds to the infrastructure ministries for them to grow,” the Ho West MP stated.
The Minority MP said, the budgetary allocation for the Ministry in the 2017 and the 2018 budgets, were noted to be less than half of the funds the Ministry actually required.
He stated that, the Ministry owed contractors to the tune of GHc 1 billion, but the entire allocation for the ministry was GHc 91 million.
Mr. Bedzrah said the 2019 Budget failed to address the Ministry of Works and Housing, adding that the government has not put in place the right set of policies to transform the sector.
He noted government’s new plan for the housing sector saying “it is necessary to intervene with the pension fund and rake in good money to do mortgages.”
In his view, the 2019 budget was not different from the 2017/2018 budgets presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori- Atta, arguing that, it was time the Ministry is scrap off if government could not resourced it to operate.
But the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea , said the budget had made provision for running the economy to create a stronger economy for jobs and prosperity.
The government, he said, has released GHc40 million for the pilot phase of the housing project that would leverage additional private sector funds of GHc 40 million from pensions, insurance and collective investment schemes through selected commercial banks.
In addition to that, the Minister announced that government is again committing GHc 1 billion to mortgage housing finance fund, to be seeded with a minimum of GHc 100m every fiscal year, over the next 5 years.
Mr Atta Akyea noted that, the Ministry has also projects that 4,100 of 5,000 homes under the Saglemi Housing project would be completed in 2019.
Source’: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba