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26.10.2008 General News

Interim Budget For New Gov't

By Salifu Abdul-Rahman & Samuel Nuamah -

BEFORE Parliament rises on November 7, the government will make a formal request to it to allow the incoming administration to fund government programmes for the first three months in 2009.

This is to afford the new government ample time to prepare and present its  financial policy statement  in March next year, said Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

He said “we are not going to present a full-blown  budget now because the new administration may have a different  thrust in terms of areas it would like to emphasise in the economy”.

He  was reacting to a statement made on the floor of the House by Haruna Iddrissu  (NDC-Tamale South) to the effect that Parliament should invite the ministry to brief it on the state of the economy.

Mr Iddrissu explained that such a briefing would enable the next government to appreciate the state of the economy vis-avis-the global economic crises and the level of debt of agencies such as the Tema Oil Refinery and the Volta River Authority.

“We are undergoing a major political transition on January 7, which will usher in a  new government.  It is important that whichever party wins have a deeper  understanding of the economy, especially with the global financial crisis”.

Article 180 of the 1992 constitution says: “Where  it appears to the President that Appropriation Act in respect of any financial year will not come into operation by the beginning of that financial year, he may, with prior  approval of Parliament by a resolution, authorise the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund for  the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of government in respect of the period expiring three months from the beginning of the financial year or on the coming into operation of the Act  whichever  is earlier”.

Prof. Gyan-Baffour intimated that though the global financial crisis would witness “a little bit of ripples” on the economy, “I can assure Ghanaians that our economy is very strong, the fundamentals are in the right direction and what's going on in the world can't stand on our path”.

He stressed that the preparation of a full-blown budget would be done in March next year by the party that would assume power.

Over the years, Parliament has been approving provisional estimates to run government machinery before the presentation of the budget which usually comes in the first quarter of the fiscal year.

However, the government, in line with the provisions of the 1992 constitution, has, for the past four years presented the budget before Parliament in November.