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17.11.2006 Politics

Minority MPs describe 2007 budget as re-cycled

By GNA
Minority MPs describe 2007 budget as re-cycled
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Members of Parliament (MPs) have reacted differently to the 2007 budget statement with some NDC members describing it as a re-cycled budget and NPP members saying it is progressive.

According to the Minority side, the budget could best be described as "cut and paste," indicating that the 2007 budget was a re-cycled version of the 2006 economic policy of government and had nothing new to offer Ghanaians.

The Majority members, however, disagree saying it was a progressive budget, which would further grow the economy.

The MPs were reacting to questions from the press after the Finance Minister, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, had presented the 2007 budget to Parliament on Thursday.

Among some of the targets set for next year is the increasing of real GDP growth rate to 6.5 percent and bringing down inflation rates to a single digit of between seven and nine per cent.

An amount of 470 million dollars would also be invested over the next three years to improve the energy sector and a comprehensive public sector pay reform programme to stem the tide of strikes, would be given a boost by the establishment of a Fair Wages Commission to administer the new comprehensive pay structure.

Mr Kwame Osei Prempeh, Deputy Attorney-General, in his reactions, said the budget pointed to growth and Ghana, having weaned itself from the Breton Wood institution, could enter the world capital market to look for funds to expand the economy.

The Deputy Minister said all indicators from the 2006 budget showed that government had achieved a lot and the outlook for 2007 pointed to further growth.

Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, the newly appointed Minority Spokesperson on Finance and ranking member on the Finance Committee, said the budget was the same old repetition of development projects. He touched on corporate tax incentives, and said despite the tax incentives given in the 2006 budget, no single company had been set up in any of the three northern regions.

On recent agitations on the labour front, he said, he expected government to come out with immediate plans to deal with the concerns of workers.

According to him, the Fair Wages Commission yet to be set up, was just to allow government "to buy time." He said it was a long-term solution to the wages problems since it was going to take time to legally establish the commission and this fell short of the immediate responses needed to address the wages issue. Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, (NDC-Abokobi-Madina) said the 2007 budget was a political budget meant to give hope to the NPP because it was short on new ideas and programmes.

"It is the same old repetition of development projects. They need to do something," he said.

Miss Theresa Tagoe, (NPP Ablekuma-South) and Mrs Gladys Ashietey, (NPP-Ledzokuku), were both emphatic that the 2007 budget had addressed issues of unemployment and the provision of good road network and what was needed was for Ghanaians to work hard to grow the economy. Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker, said the budget had adequately addressed the issue of salary rationalization and this was in the right direction since it was going to reduce tension on the labour front.

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