Ahead of the presentation of the government’s budget for 2018 today (Wednesday), some Minority Members of Parliament (MPs), have expressed pessimism about the economy-strengthening prospects of the policy statement.
The MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, described the upcoming budget as an ‘ahokyerɛ’ budget which translates as ‘suffering or hardship’ budget, suggesting that it would not address the employment or income challenges of Ghanaians.According to him, government had failed to meet its revenue targets, resulting in them being unable to fulfill a number of promises and assurances they had made Ghanaians.
He believes that despite the “fanciful” words that will be used by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, in his presentation on Wednesday, the budget will ultimately “produce nothing in the end”
“This budget will be an ahokyerɛ budget.Revenue targets have not been met, commitments to promises have not been delivered, money is not available, there is deep doubt that employment can be created because employment creation is production-driven. Industries must produce and production is demand-driven. And for people to have demand for goods and services, people must have income,” he said.
“The economy is not expanding because there’s no money. Because there’s no money, industry can’t produce a stockpile and because of that they retrench workers to be able to stay afloat or they won’t employ at all. Because there’s no employment, the teeming masses will go to the public service for jobs. The government won’t spend because they aren’t getting the revenue. In the first three quarters, the government is under-performing in terms of revenue mobilization. There’s no money to spend so how will it provide the impetus for the economy to grow and expand and create the necessary conditions for employment?”
Tamale North MP, Alhassan Suhuyini also expressed similar sentiments, stating that there is little hope that the 2018 budget will stimulate the growth of the economy.
According to the legislator, checks from Ghanaians who had celebrated following the presentation of the 2017 budget in March would show that those same people were in better conditions under the NDC administration.
He believes that Wednesday’s budget will be “another round of huge doses of bible quotations and sloganeering” which will eventually “have nothing impactful by way of transformation”
“It’s important that we recollect what was promised and ask ourselves if, beyond the media blitz that greeted the 2017 presentation, there is something on the ground that justifies what we saw. It’s important that we talk to the people at the ports and at Abossey Okai who jubilated earlier, as we await the 2018 budget. I am convinced that they will have no other verdict than what the Minority predicted at the time that this was a budget with very little by way of transforming the economy and creating jobs,” Alhassan Suhuyini told Citi News
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, hinted over the weekend at the Association of Ghanaian Industries Awards (AGI) dinner, that electricity tariffs will be reviewed downwards soon.
According to Nana Addo, details of the review will be announced by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta at the 2018 budget reading in Parliament.
The high electricity tariffs were a major part of the NPP’s campaign ahead of the 2016 elections, with many of the party’s communicators claiming that electricity cost more than rent.
However, Suhuyini believes that Ghanaians paid less for electricity and petroleum products and had better prospects for quality infrastructure under the NDC.
“The Ghanaian used to pay less for electricity and fuel under the NDC than they do today. The Ghanaian used to have more hope of government extending roads to their areas than they have today.
He also suggested that the Minority had been vindicated in their criticism of the NPP’s Free SHS programme stating that they had predicted the challenges with capacity which had characterised the initial stages of the rollout of the policy.
“When we in the NDC said in the past that free SHS was impossible, it was not because the government at the time could not find money to erect billboards or do a launch and declare it commissioned. But it was because of the practical impossibilities. When you go to the schools, are the conditions the students studying under the same conditions you would want your siblings to be in? We said that if they introduced the Free SHS as they promised, we’ll have students sitting outside.”
The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, questioned government’s revenue mobilization ability and their failure to meet a number of the commitments they put out in the 2017 budget.
He told Citi News that he expects the government to outline strategies towards achieving the targets stated in the 2017 budget, whilst offering solutions to their revenue generation problem.
“My expectations for the budget is really how the government plans to address a number of pledges made in the 2017 budget which have not been fulfilled. The one million dollar per constituency disbursement did not take place. The 2018 budget would have to address it because they pledged in their manifesto that every year constituencies would get one million dollars so that means they’ll have to raise 2 million in 2018 because last year is in arrears.”
By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana