…Says it’s NPP’s ‘419’ dream of unrealistic intentions
The minority in parliament has described the 2018 budget presented to parliament by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta yesterday as a scam, a fraud and a dream of intention with no reality on the ground.
“This is a ‘419’ dream and propaganda budget,” Hon. Umar Alhassan, MP for Zabzugu, told The Republic in an interview in parliament, after the minister presented the budget in Accra yesterday.
Among other things, the Finance Minister said government is intending a reduction in electricity tariffs by 13% and also intends employing 100,000 graduates next year.
He also announced the scrapping of taxes on low earnings and gave private universities and young entrepreneurs some tax holidays.
But Hon. Umar, however, said the government is just dreaming and that the ruling party made similar promises in the 2017 budget, but has not fulfilled even a single one, and, thus, wondered how the new promises can be fulfilled.
He mentioned the one district one factory, one village one dam, one million dollar for each of the 275 constituencies, poor implementation of free SHS, massive unemployment and several other unfulfilled promises.
Hon. Rudolf Amenga-Etego, MP for Chiana/Paga, on his part, told the paper that, the minister just simply must feel ashamed to have presented what he termed as “intended budget,” noting that a lot of similar promises were made in the 2017 budget.
“Over 750,000 youth were promised jobs, you haven’t dealt with the past promises and you are promising 100,000 jobs?” he contended, mocking “trained nurses are at home without jobs, teachers are at home jobless and you are adding on. This is a propaganda budget and I can say the minister appears to be a comedian.”
Asked if the government’s free senior high school programme is not an achievement, Mr. Amenga-Etego said the quality is compromised, adding that “students are sleeping outside at the mercy of the weather, while parents are renting hostel facilities for their children at a high cost and the young boys are likely to get into bad company if the trend persists.”
Also speaking to The Republic, the minority spokesperson on finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, said the budget is full of deception, adding that Ghana will end the year with a 73% debt-to-GDP ratio, despite the 68% projection of the finance minister.
He reiterated the minority prediction that the country’s economy may push to a recession if the policies of deception and tricks of the government persist
Hon. Edward Bawa, MP for Bongo, contributing, described the 2018 budget statement as a ‘wahala’ budget, to wit, a budget of difficulty.
He told The Republic minutes after the Finance Minister had read the budget that nothing has changed and that it was just a recycled budget with the same empty promises.
He stated, “This is a “wahala” budget, a budget with difficulty for the Ghanaian people, a budget with full of empty promises. They promised same in 2017 budget, we are here today talking of the same things.”
“They promised in their manifesto one constituency one million dollar, one district one factory, one village one dam, but, as we speak, we have not seen any of those. I have not received any penny for my constituency’s one million dollar promise, and I know my colleagues have not received either, so it is just promise and failed budget.”
Mr. Bawa said the proposal to reduce electricity tariffs by 13% is a dream, because the government has no absolute control over utility tariffs and that it as a ploy to woo the electorate into believing that government is doing something, which, in reality, is contrary.
He blasted the government’s handling of the current power sector for claiming the success of the NDC, even without adding a single megawatt onto the power supply in the country.
Hon. Yussif Jaja, MP for Ayawaso North, wasted no time in punching holes in the budget presented by the Finance Minister, saying the minister failed to outline clear policies to address this important issues afflicting the Ghanaian economy today; that is the near-uncontrollable fall of the Ghana cedi, which he said is now considered the worst-performing currency in the world.
“It is regrettable, in view of the stability the Ghana cedi enjoyed in the 2016 fiscal year under the NDC’s agenda for transformation,” he said.
He added: “Again, this is regrettable because this budget does not place hope in ordinary Ghanaians, because all promises in 2017 budget have not been fulfilled and this 2018 budget even proved worst.”
Mr. Jaja held that the government’s failure to address the challenges facing the senior high school students, massive unemployment, abandoned road constructions and several others are an indication of poor management of the economy and Ghanaians should expect nothing but a worst situation in the coming year.
“There was clear deception in the budget statement read by the Finance Minister regarding the much-trumpeted Free SHS programme,” he said.
He said starting the Free Senior High School policy with only first-year students in the 2017/2018 academic year amounts to deception and a complete deviation from the President’s promise to provide free education to all Ghanaians.
Most of the minority members, including George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, MP for Cape Coast South and Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East, blasted President Akufo-Addo’s second budget, saying it is full of deception and one that cannot solve Ghana’s present economic challenges.
But most of the Majority MPs said, the budget was the best because it addresses the needs of the poor with 13% reduction of tariffs and employment opportunity for over 1,000 youth in to the tax collection and sanitation sectors.
Ms. Barbara Asher Ayisi, MP for Cape Coast North, said the budget rather restored hope in the economy, as most of the programmes, especially the one district one factory policy was poised to deliver satisfactory jobs for the people of Ghana.
She added that, the free SHS has also lifted the huge burden on parents, as well as parliamentarians, who no longer have to struggle to pay fees and MPs too no longer have to step in and assist.
Hon. Daniel Aboagye, MP for Bantama, said the budget is a most promising and most fulfilling one, and that it is going to improve the nation’s economy, as all the projects and programmes will be fully implemented.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba