Parliament yesterday concluded debates on the 2018 Budget estimates and policy statement of the government of Ghana ending 31st December, 2018 amidst controversies as the Minority abstained from the voice vote on the basis that the Finance Minister breached provisions of the Public Financial Management (PMF) Act, 921, 2016.
The debate ended with leaders of sides of the House giving their submissions on the 2018 budget statement.
Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu urged government to provide opportunities for all Ghanaians but not only New Patriotic Party (NPP) fanatics.
The Tamale South lawmaker urged government to respect the laws of Ghana stating that majoritarian rule cannot usurp the laws of the land in the scheme of things.
He also chided the allocation of huge sums of money to initiatives such as the agriculture insurance, the Ghana Bauxite Authority which does not exist yet and huge allocation to the Presidency.
The leader also chastised government for what he said was government’s description of loans as novelty and asked ‘’since when has borrowing become a novelty’’ even as the NPP government leverages on the Energy sector levy instituted by the previous NDC government.
He also cautioned government against competing with to private sector as far as corporate tax regime is concern and downplays the establishment of the Ghana Development as announced in the 2018 budget.
According to him, the establishment a Development Bank was not necessary since the National Investment Bank (NIB), Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) and the Ghana Infrastructure Fund already exist to facilitate development.
The leader of the Minority in Parliament was not happy about government decision to withdraw money from the National Health Insurance Levy Fund to pay nurses allowance which was a campaign promises even though the fund is distressed with money to perform its primary function of healthcare.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu charged government to pay particular attention to procurement issues which remains a veritable source of corruption in the country whiles urging government to ensure the unification of pensions in the country with a especially focus on the Ghana Prisons Service.
He indicated that the NPP government inherited strong economy and institutions and must build on it and endeavour to support the private sector to create the needed jobs.
On his part Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in debasing the Minority’s arguments stated that the 2018 budget is based on policies and principles but not superficialities as touted by the NDC.
He chided the Minority for focusing on errors in the budget documents and also gave historical mistakes in previous budgets whiles urging for the need to focus on the substance of the issues raised in the budget.
By: Christian Kpesese/ thePublisher