Parliament on Tuesday concluded the debate on the 2021 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government, with divergent views from both sides of the House on its merits.
The Majority Side supported the statement, describing it as a review of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s programme for accelerated recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minority, on the other hand, accused the Minister of Finance of presenting a superficial budget review, which it called; “the New Patriotic Party’s 2021 Manifesto” rather than mid-year budget review.
Winding up the debate, the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the Mid-year Policy Statement would restore and sustain macro-economic stability.
He said the policy document would help to attain improved fiscal performance through enhanced revenue mobilisation, strengthen the economy and ensure investor confidence.
“It’s the vision of President Nana Akufo-Addo to create an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation through the creative exploitation of human and natural resources, and create a fair society in which economic opportunities exists for all,” the Majority Leader said.
He discounted the position of the Minority Caucus that the 2021 Mid-year Budget Review was superficial, adding that the document was based on policies and principles.
The Minority NDC, on its part, indicated that the government’s decision not ask for additional money deserved no commendation.
“I’m not impressed by government’s decision not to request more funds,” Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said, and suggested that the Government should have used the Mid-year Budget Review to withdraw some new taxes introduced earlier in the year.
Mr Iddrisu said Ghana’s economy was ont doing well, and on the brink of collapse due to the crippling debt of the nation.
He said the country was rather spending more money servicing debts against investing in state infrastructure, pegging the debt stock at GHS332 billion.
He bantered at the President and Minister for relying on debt relief and debt forgiveness for solutions.
The debate began on Friday, July 30, after Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, on the authority of President Akufo-Addo, had read the document to the nation, through Parliament, on Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Accra.
His presentation was in accordance with Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), which provides that the Government details its programmes and policies for the rest of the year.
The presentation provided the economic and fiscal performance of the economy for the first half of 2021, and provided an update on the implementation of key programmes.
The Finance Minister announced strategies by Government to create employment for Ghanaians in general and the youth in particular, and highlighted the status of the implementation of the Ghana CARES “Obaatanpa” Programme.
The Ghana CARES “Obaatanpa” Programme seeks to revitalise and transform the economy to pre-pandemic times and focussed on revenue, expenditure, and financing performance for the first half of 2021.
It further provided an overview of the implementation of the 2021 Budget, touching on the assurance of government on securing Covid-19 vaccines for vaccination and effective domestic revenue mobilisation.