Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has nicknamed the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government as the “Eka Mpe Dede Budget,” to wit, “Debt Does Not Like Noise.”
The Budget Statement, dubbed the “Unity Budget (Nkabom Budget)” was presented to Parliament on Thursday, by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, on the authority of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Moments after the presentation, Mr Iddrisu said: “Today, Mr Speaker, we have heard the Honourable Minister of Finance before this august House declare Ghana a high-risk distress debt country.”
“So, Mr Speaker, this budget is “Eka mpe dede budget” and therefore, he has put the country on the path to debt restructuring, which he has announced as debt exchange programme.”
The Minority Leader said he was comparing the Budget to the statement “Sika Mpe Dede” to wit, “Money Does Not Like Noise”, attributed to President Akufo-Addo when he addressed the nation on the state of the economy.
He said his greatest expectation of the Minister was to regularise his borrowing under the Amended Bank of Ghana Act of 2016.
He noted that the Minister had to go back to the House to seek their mandate and authorisation for the excessive borrowing from the Bank of Ghana; saying, “that needs to be regularised.”
Mr Iddrisu said the fact that there was no pomp and pageantry accompanying the presentation of the Budget was an indication that even the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Majority Caucus was not happy.
“Mr Speaker, the Minister named the budget ‘Unity Budget.’ …. He has only confirmed that Ghana’s economy is now on life support and when you are on life support, two things can happen – a recovery or the unknown.”
“He has our prayers; that we will help him to recover the economy.”
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader, on his part, said the upshoot of the presentation was transparency.
He said it was very a pragmatic budget that recognised the current situation of Ghana and measures at reviving and repositioning the economy.
“The budget entails a work programme that calls on all Ghanaians to pull together,” he said.
“And as the Minister quoted the Prophet Nehemia: Let’s build the walls of Jerusalem.’ In this context, the walls of Accra, and indeed, Ghana together.”
“Mr Speaker, I believe as patriots, we shall all respond. Let us start rebuilding. I believe that at the appropriate time and in the full recognition that we are one people in one country with a common destiny, we shall respond to regrow this country together.”
Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin assured members of the House that they would be given sufficient time to debate the Budget.
Sitting continues on Friday, November 25, 2022, at 1000 hours.