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14.03.2009 Business & Finance

'No partisan debate on budget'

By myjoyonline

Economic experts and accountants at a roundtable discussion on the 2009 budget have called for a non-partisan debate on the budget and consensus building in addressing the country's economic challenges.

That, they said, was the only way to come up with policies to mitigate the effects of the world financial slowdown on the country.

“The problem we are confronted with has to do with the global economy which does not know party affiliations and the four-year cycle of governments. Our budgeting and execution processes should not be a winner-takes-all approach but we should wok and speak together to deal with the challenges confronting us,” the Vice-Rector of the Pentecost University, Prof. Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi, who chaired the forum, summarized.

The Budget Digest was organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA) (Ghana) in Accra Yesterday March 13, to examine the budget and make recommendations for its implementation and highlight areas where expenditure should be channeled.

The accounting experts urged the government to balance political expediency with the realities on the ground by making “hard choices” to propel the socio-economic development of the country.

They said such hard choices might affect the government's popularity in the short term but the long-term gains would vindicate its stance.

The accountants also emphasized the need to channel more resources into agriculture, after having discussed a lead presentation by a Research Fellow of the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Legon, Dr. Darko Osei.

The discussions centered on the budget in the light of the global financial crises and they would enable the IAC, which regulates the accountancy profession in the country, to come up with suggestions to the government in a communiqué.

According to the CIA, it was time the country added real value to its agricultural produce and also adopted a pragmatic approach to managing the value chain to ensure quality produce.

“It calls for attention to invest in equipment, plants and cold chains to achieve the best quality for the international market,” Prof. Omane-Antwi stated.

He also reiterated the consensus reached by the accountants that a continuous deficit financing would not help the country and that it should have a terminal point where it could balance its budget.

Source: Daily Graphic