There is nothing in this budget review -Minority
After standing on his feet for two hours and 15 minutes to present the Mid-year Budget Review to the House, the Minority Caucus in Parliament says there is absolutely nothing in the financial statement presented by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta.
Though the document, which was put together and contained in an orange colored cover and distributed to Members of Parliament (MP), looked very voluminous with detailed information about the performances of the Akufo-Addo government in 2019, and the outlook for 2020, the Minority still indicated that the document was empty.
Addressing the media after the budget review, Mr Ato Forson, Minority Spokesman on Finance and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, indicated that he was disappointed because there was nothing to jubilate about.
“I am disappointed in the government. The document presented to us was very empty. There is nothing in it for us to be happy about, he said, “adding that he was rather shocked at some of the revelations that the Finance Minister gave while reading the budget.
“We are rather receiving some shocks to the extent that government has spent GH¢11.1 billion on Covid-19 expenditure alone, without giving a breakdown of what the money has been used for. I thought there will be a breakdown on what the money was used for, but he didn’t. Unfortunately it’s all Bible quotations, and nothing in the budget statement.”
He said the Finance Minister indicated that the government would borrow GH¢44 billion. He indicated that if the government should borrow such [an] amount of money, then Ghana’s public debt will jump to GH¢280 billion, which is higher than the GH¢120 billion it inherited from the Mahama-led government.
Mr Forson indicated that Ghanaians should show the Akufo-Addo government the exit, because borrowing such amount of money will put the country into huge debt. “Government will borrow GH¢44 billion this year. By the end of 2020, the public debt will be GH¢280 billion, from the GH¢120 billion they inherited. You can’t come to office and increase the public debt with very little to show. This government must go.”
He also touched on the government’s new initiative, the Ghana Care Programme, by indicating that it was a new programme and shouldn’t have been introduced in the budget statement. He argued that if the programme was meant to start in 2021 and end in 2023, then it is a manifesto promise, hence, has no business in a budget review. He said a budget review is not for manifestos, but to review an existing budget.
“The Obantapa Project in 2021-2023. This is not time for him to announce. It’s a manifesto pledge. The budget is not for manifesto, but review of the old budget. He has introduced manifesto promises into the official document.”
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who also subtly commented on the budget statement when he was asked to second the motion for adjournment of the House, indicated that the document should be referred to as “Obatanbohy3” instead of “Obantanpa.”
He explained that the document does not give any hope to the ordinary Ghanaian whose life has been devastated by Covid-19 and needs immediate solutions. He opined that the document is a semblance of manifesto promises, rather than a Midyear review.
According to Haruna, all the Minister did was to make promises and pledges, but left out the meat of the statement. He said most of the things the Minister said the government would do are in future tenses, whereas Ghanaians are being consumed by the negative impact of the Covid-19 and need immediate solutions. He said the posture was that of a desperate and failing government.