THE 2013 budget statement and Economic Policy of government as read in parliament on Tuesday has received mixed reactions as the minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members in Parliament giving it names as usual.
They described the budget presented by Finance Minister Seth Terkper as recycled material that had been lifted from previous budgets including the provision of offices for MPs, elimination of schools under trees, free exercise books and school uniform for pupils in basic schools. To then the budget is nothing but ?Cut and Paste.?
?There is nothing new that is inspiring in this year?s budget, it is empty, it is hopeless, it is just old materials taken from the previous budgets?, Dominic Nitiwul, Deputy Minority Leader told Spyghana.com in an interview.
Their counterparts from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) however, disagreed with the negative description, insisting the budget statement was? comprehensive, inspiring and full of hope for Ghanaians and the overall development of the country.
In seconding a motion for adjournment of the House, after the budget statement was read to the House, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Minority Leader described the 2013 budget as ?a journey of nowhere budget?, adding ?it would be interesting debating this budget?.
He urged the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to ensure the budget estimates for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are brought on time for the debate on them to commence in earnest. This was after majority leader Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor moved the motion for adjournment, commending MPs from both sides of the House for displaying high level of bluntness and demureness towards the Finance Minister.
Tuesday was the first time the minority caucus participated in an activity from President Mahama as NPP was still contesting his legitimacy at the Supreme Court. The minority caucus had indicated it was not going to be part of any activity from President Mahama that was transient and would terminate if the highest court of the land cleared him illegitimate.
According to the minority caucus, it was participating in the presentation of the budget because government agencies would continue to operate with or without President Mahama and would need budgets to carry out their mandates.
This year?s budget presentation lasted for about one hour 40 minutes without the usual funfair and nomenclature that had characterized such occasions in the past as members from both sides of the House uncharacteristically declined heckling and display of fliers with oxymora inscriptions like ?Wahala Azaar, and Better Ghana?? Budget on the floor of the House.
It was on the theme: Sustaining Confidence in the Future of the Ghanaian Economy?.
Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei observed that the budget statement and economic policy lacked specific details on how the targets outlined would be achieved.
Dr. Akoto Osei, MP for Old Tafo and a former minister of state at the ministry of finance and economic planning pointed out for instance that the government indicated it was going to reduce the current budget deficit of 12.1 percent to 9.1 percent without clearly stating how it was going to achieve this target.
Available statistics indicate that the ruling NDC had over spent in the last four years, increasing the fiscal deficit of GHC2 billion (6.6 % of GDP) which it inherited from the previous NPP administration in 2008, to a gargantuan and unprecedented deficit of GHC8.7 billion (12.1 % of GDP).
??The Minister of Finance was only hedging, I did not hear any specific details from his presentation and I will like to see the full budget statement? on how government was going to reduce the deficit? before I make comments on it?,? the former minister of state stated.
But Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, NDC MP for Ellembelle and Minister for Energy and Petroleum described the budget statement as ?forward looking? that would transform the Ghanaian economy and promote accelerated growth.