Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, has pooh-poohed government’s 2019 budget statement presented in Parliament on Thursday, November 15, 2018.

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The MP said the budget presented nothing new, given that it failed to outline how it to address the challenges Ghanaians are battling with.

He believes the budget was only full of slogans and propaganda.

“I was not expecting anything extraordinary, and I am not surprised. I have looked at the pattern of the budget since 2017, and one thing I have noticed they are good at is the slogans. You coin a slogan, and then you do propaganda around it, and then you move on. One of the major challenges of the ordinary Ghanaian today is the unnecessary hardship. Fuel prices are going up because of the price of fuel. Taxi fares, lorry fares, food prices are going up. People are losing their jobs. Most of the media houses are laying off people. A lot of companies are shutting down, and I thought that they were going to use this to address some of these concerns.

“Last year, when the budget was read, we anticipated that the price of oil will go up 55 dollars. Today, it started hovering between 66 and 70 and the profit we made was 5 million cedis. My expectation was that government was going to use that to cushion the increasing price of fuel so that the cost of food will remain stable, the cost of lorry fares and trotros will remain stable, the cost of carting goods across will remain stable. Companies that are using fuel heavily will at least be able to keep people at work. This VAT that you pretended that it was not an increase in the VAT and you decided to segregate the GETFund and the Health Insurance, that has led to five percent increased cost for almost all production. Companies are complaining. They are just talking about borrowing after promises of no borrowing.”

‘Insincere budget’

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, also described the 2019 budget as insincere.

He said the 2019 budget was not different from the two other budgets presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori- Atta.

“The media must point out the lack of candor and sincerity on the part of the Minister. Go and flip through the pages on roads and you realize they are the exact words in 2017, repeated in 2018 and in 2019…In any case, teachers’ allowances are in arrears, nurses allowances are in arrears.”

Mr. Ofori Atta presented the budget which was themed “a stronger economy for jobs and prosperity” in Parliament on Thursday.

The Finance Minister touched on all sectors of the economy including agriculture manufacturing, waste management, aviation among others.

He also briefed Parliament on government’s social intervention programmes including the free Senior High School programme, NABCO, one district one factory, planting for food jobs, adding that they also intend to introduce rearing for food in 2019.