21.03.2005 General News

Government Bashed for Over Spending

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Alban Bagbin, Minority Leaders and Member of Parliament for Nadowli North has accused the ruling government over what he describe “ the unconstitutional dissipation of public funds”.

Making a contribution to the debate on the amendment of the national Reconstruction Levy last Friday made a startling revelation that sent tongues wagging mainly among members of the Minority and some majority members in the House.

According to Mr Bagbin the government has been dogged by creditability problem accusing it of arbitrarily dipping its hands into public coffers without recourse to Parliament.

He said government in the year 2004 exceeded its budgetary target of the ¢24 trillion approved for it by Parliament but quite strangely the government by passed Parliament and spent an additional amount of ¢4 trillion.

“That is no transparency, that is unconstitutional, he shouted on the floor of the house saying 'this is a credibility problem of the NPP government that I have always been talking about”.

Surprisingly none of the audience, other members of Parliament (MPs) including Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu and his Deputy, Dr Akoto Osei, the Senior Minister, JH Mensah and a host of Ministers of State and their Deputies could challenge the minority leader over his assertion.

This revelation momentarily threw the House into an uneasy silence as Mr. Bagbin virtually had a field day raving and ranting saying “ Mr. Speaker, the government failed to bring a supplementary budget to the House for approval but they ran wild and spent the money the way they wanted.”

The MP for Nadowli North made the revelation shortly after he had been defeated on his counter motion to the Customs and Excise (Duties and other Taxes (Amendment) Bill” before the motion on the amendment of the National Reconstruction Levy in 2001, the NPP was cautioned but it refused to listen.

Earlier there had been a tug of war in the House over the motion by the Finance Minister to amend the “ Customs, Excise (Duties and Other Taxes) Amendment) Bill which sharply divided the House into political factions.

The amendment sought to reduce import duties on imported rice from 25 per cent to 20 per cent and that of Poultry products from 40 per cent to 20 per cent to streamline issue pertaining to imports duties and brings it at par with the dictates of the 2005 budget.

The minority contended that the introduction of the levy was not in the interest of business in the country, but it used its numbers to have the bill passed, but it has now come to terms with the realities on the ground, with the assurance that it would be further reduced next year and finally scrapped off by the end of 2006.

Mr. Bagbin has therefore urged the House to instruct the Assurances Committee to take note of the promise and to hold the government accountable to its promises and ended up supporting the motion for the downward review of the National Reconstruction Levy.

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