Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, has called on Members of Parliament to engage in meaningful deliberations and make all necessary documents available to the House to enrich the debate on the 2020 budget.
According to him, “It is important to develop this politics of issues,” in the 2020 budget presented to parliament last Wednesday by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta.
Prof. Oquaye made the call at a two-day post-budget workshop opening ceremony on Saturday, November 16, in Accra.
The Finance Minister presented the 2020 budget to parliament on November 13, seeking the parliamentary approval for the 2020 fiscal year.
Addressing the legislators at the two workshops, Prof Oquaye, urged them not to give room to politics of vituperations.
He said it was his expectation that the MPs of both sides would do proper research and offer meaningful debate and analysis of the policy underpinnings of the Budget.
The Workshop which was held at the Justice D.F Annan auditorium was the first time in many years the post-budget workshop is being at the premises of Parliament.
The idea, according to officials of parliament was to save the nation the cost of having to travel outside Accra with a huge budget, especially as the Government embarks on fiscal discipline.
The two-day Workshop was on the theme: “Consolidating the Gains for Growth, Jobs and Prosperity for All.”
While challenging the 275 lawmakers to make a meaningful contribution at the workshop ahead of the debate in Chamber, Prof Oquaye said: “I am happy that we’re not travelling outside Accra, and come back with a budget of GHC 1.7 million.”
He noted that such were the things that prevented Members of Parliament and other staff to enjoy better privileges, including housing and vehicles.
Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, said the MPs had a duty to thoroughly scrutinise the Budget devoid of political differences and find common grounds on technical issues relevant to its content.
The leader of government business of the august House expressed his disappointment that only 55 of the 275 members were present when the programme had long started.
He urged the MPs to critically examine issues for well-informed contributions, rather than engaging in propaganda, when the debate on the 2020 Budget starts on Monday.
The Suame lawmaker said the debate would be about the principles of the budget, and called on members to discuss that rather than the estimates.
On his part, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu said the Finance Minister must brief the House on how much money government had pumped into cleaning the financial sector.
According to him, subsequent budgets should also indicate Ghana’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
He called on the Government to stick to its pledge of avoiding budget overruns next year.
The post-budget workshop is a budgetary affair, which involved an opportunity cost on how best to maximise the use of resources in terms of the benefits.
The workshop would tackle topics such as; “Policy Underpinnings of the 2020 Budget”, “Overview of the 2020 Budget – Macro Economic and Fiscal Management”, and “What to Consider in Analysing the 2020 Sector Budgets.”
Also to be considered were: “Planning and Delivery on Infrastructure,” “Revenue Mobilisation,” “Workers’ Perspective of the 2020 Budget,” and “The 2020 Budget and the Energy Sector.”
Nonetheless, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, said Ghana’s economy still faced some structural ‘headwinds’ despite its positive outlook for 2020.
“We still have some structural headwinds in terms of the wages, interest and revenue to deal with as the economy grows,” he said.
The sector Minister said the two main challenges the nation continued to face was the energy sector IPP payments, and the financial sector clean-up, which were being done to ensure value for money.
The Government had targeted 6.8 per cent of GDP, non-oil growth of 4.6 per cent, inflation of eight per cent and an overall deficit of four per cent.
Mr.Ofori Atta gave the assurance that the Government was committed to ensuring that there was no budgetary overruns or overspending in the 2020 Election year.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba