Accra, March 1, GNA - Captain Nkrabeah Effah Dartey, (rtd), NPP-Berekum, on Tuesday expressed satisfaction about the new budget timetable set out in the 2005 economic policy of the Government and said this pointed to the fact that this year's budget was full of hope. The Member said all over Europe, governments were noted for preparing their budgets earlier, which meant that a 2006 Budget would be ready by end of 2005.
Capt. Effah Dartey, who was contributing to the debate on the 2005 Budget Statement, which began on Tuesday, said almost every year Government's Economic Policy and Budget Statements in Ghana for a particular year were presented to Parliament for approval right in that very year. He said this year's Budget has come out clearly to indicate that the Budget Statement for 2006 would be presented and approved before the end of December, this year. He also lauded the Government's promise to establish a Contingency Fund this year in line with the requirements of the Constitution. Capt. Effah Dartey said there would be no need for people to rush onto the streets to agitate if they could take time off to go through this year's budget, which he said offered a lot of hope to Ghanaians.
Mr Samuel Owusu-Adjei, Chairman of the Finance Committee, who seconded the motion that the House approved the Budget Statement, said the Government was going to develop the rural economy through the modernisation of agriculture. He said the macro-economic foundation was firmly in place to support the second phase of the Government's development agenda. He said social services would also be enhanced to ensure that the pro-poor agenda set by the Government was met.
Mr Emmanuel Bandua, NDC-Biakoye, said tax reductions in the budget were minimal with very high taxes in the petroleum sector and this had created much hardship for many Ghanaians. He said the cost of living had shot up and it was for this reason that the people had taken to the streets to demonstrate. On Government's housing policy, he said the majority of Ghanaians would not be able to own houses although the Government was planning to puts up more houses. Mr Bandua suggested to the Government to initiate a legislation that would stop landlords from charging high rent advances.
Mr Asamoah Ofosu, NPP-Kade, said the target set out in this year's budget should be measured by the successes and achievements in 2004. He said the 5.2 growth rate targeted for 2004 went beyond that to 5.8 per cent growth rate at the end of the year. Earlier, the House observed a minute's silence in memory of the NDC Member for Asawase, Dr Gibiril Adamu, who passed-on on 26 of February 2005 and was buried on the same day. He was a member of the Appointments Committee of the House.