Budget presented with usual mixed reactions by minority and majority
Accra , Nov 16, GNA - Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance on Wednesday presented the Financial Policy of the government of Ghana for the year-ending 31st December 2012, with the minority calling it a "bye bye" budget for the government while the majority regard it as one full of hope .
Dr Duffuor appeared before the House around 11.55am instead of 10am looking very calm even when he was made to lay papers which he had to withdraw later because the procedure applied was wrong.
Mr Samson Ahi, Member for Juaboso, described the budget as one meant for the retirement of Nana Akuffo Addo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party.
He said the budget would make people to vote for President John Evans Atta Mills during the 2012 Presidential elections.
Mr Ahi said the budget targeted areas such as tax reduction, health care delivery, among other social interventions which made the minority to be mesmerized”.
Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi- Buah, Deputy Minister for Energy and NDC member for Ellembele said the budget humbled the opposition; to the extent that they could not utter a word.
Mr Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Minority Leader said the budget had met his expectations.
Mr Alfred Abayateye, Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament and NDC Member for Sege said the budget was a drastic initiative by the government, " with government coming out with tax amnesty which would help those businesses faced with penalties and encourage them to stay in business."
He said for the eight years that the NPP government was in power it was not able to attain the four convergence points for the West Africa Monetary zone but that the Mills administration had attained those benchmarks, adding that the NDC government had been able to obtain over one million tonnes in cocoa production.
He noted that government had been able to implement the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) which took 41.2 per cent of the country's total revenue, a scheme which the NPP advocated but dodged its implementation.
He said the wage bill as at now had about 97 per cent of total workforce in public sector hooked to the SSPP .
He explained that government had been able to account for oil revenue from the first three liftings and was yet to receive the budget of the fourth lifting, saying inflation had remained at a single digit and that for the one time premium, the “ doubting Thomases'” would be proved wrong.
Mr Abayateye said government was also creating the enabling environment for Small Scale Enterprises to be listed on the stock exchange.
Mr Isaac Osei, NPP member for Subin said nothing was said to encourage the business community, adding that on interest rates remained high.
"Looking at the the 2011 budget, government did not perform up to expectation," he said, adding that this was a government which had had more money than previous governments did but could not deliver.
Dr Richard Anane, NPP member for Nhyiaeso, said because the election year was drawing closer, government intentionally said it would implement the one -term premium questioning why government did not do it a long time ago and what preparations had been made for its implementation.
Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said the only new thing found in the budget "is new environmental tax," adding “ I did not expect much and even they did not start well, as the procedure for laying papers in the house was wrong. I have not seen anything in the budget to impress me. It is their bye bye budget", he added.
The minority, though calm, shouted “away” “away” to the Minister after he ended the reading of the budget statement.
The house was adjourned till Thursday November 17, 2011.