The Minority caucus in parliament has called on the Nana Akufo Addo led government to stop the use of the United States of America’s dollar as a legal tender in Ghana.
According to the Minority, the use of $100,000 cheque as part of prize package for 2017 National Best Farmer was an indictment on our currency and must be stop in the best interest of the country economy.
Hon Eric Opoku, Minority Ranking Member on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of parliament made the call on the floor of parliament in Accra yesterday
A 50-year-old farmer from the Dormaa West District in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Philip Kwaku Agyeman, was adjudged this year’s National Best Farmer and he took home a cheque for $100,000, as part of his prize package.
However, contributing to the budget estimate allocation to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Parliament on Tuesday this week,Mr Opoku who is MP for Asunafo South said government must desist from the dollarisation system.
The Asunafo South MP lamented that the Dollarization policy had led to a situation where too much cedis was made to chase a few dollars with an attendant weaker cedi and adverse multiplier effects such as rising inflation, closure of factories and high level of unemployment.
The dollarisation of the economy in the country has gotten to situation that the foreign currency had become a legal tender, with hotels, school fees as well as rents now being charged and paid in dollars to the detriment of the economy.
In his view, the devaluation of the national currency and dollarisation of the economy have made mockery of the yet-to-be-utilized 2018 budget of the Government.
Touching on the budget estimate for the Agriculture Ministry, Mr Opoku stated that, the GHS 598,620,435 for the Ministry which includes compensation and goods and services was too small to run
He argued that, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has many agencies under its supervision and that, the budget allocation was too small and wondered how the government wanted the Minister to operate with such merger budget.
The straight and facts talking MP said, even though, the ministry’s allocation increased slightly from GHS 572,223,738.18 in 2017 to GHS598,620,435.00 in 2018, the Departments and Agencies’ (MDAs) total allocation declined by 0.3%, in nominal terms.
He said, with the recent focus on agricultural industrialisation through flagship programmes like ‘One Village One Dam, One District One Factory’ and ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ inter alia, significant increase in allocation was expected, but with significant drop in donor funding (from 49% to 21.5%) would also affect the Ministry operation in the 2018 agriculture sector budget.
The burden appears to have been shifted to Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), increasing MOFA’s reliance on the fund from 18% in 2017 to 41.6% in 2018.
The Minority Ranking on Food and Agriculture averred that, the allocation for compensation rose significantly from GHS43,905,470.00 in 2017 to GHS61,052,712.00 in 2018, while that for goods and services declined sharply from GHS456,066,590.00 in 2017 to GHS157,147,870.00.
Mr Opoku also expressed worried on the fact that the Ministry Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) fell slightly from GHS 249,704,281.00 in 2017 to GHS 248,265,991.00 in 2018, stating that, “this is worrying, Mr Speaker, given that the broad agenda of the government in the short to medium term is to create jobs through investment in agriculture.”
The Asunafo South lawmaker also raised the issue of government plans to register 500,000 farmers under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign in 2018, an increase of 150% from 200,000 in 2017, nothing, with the budget allocation he doubt if the government was serious in that direction.
He also berated the government for failing in the irrigation sector and said, throughout the year 2017, the Irrigation Development Authority (IDA) did not undertake any significant project yet there was budgetary allocation for projects including one dam one village.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba