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10.11.2005 General News

Public describes 2006 budget as friendly

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Accra, Nov. 10, GNA - Madam Alphecca Muttardy, Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund, on Thursday said the 2006 Budget Statement of the government was a "strategic approach" to grow the economy.

She said there were certain strategic elements, which should ease conditions for doing business in the country.

Madam Muttardy was speaking to the GNA after Finance Minister, Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu had presented the 2006 budget in Parliament. The IMF official said the stability of the macro-economic environment would serve as a basis for the development of other sectors. She said they would be following the debate and underlying details in the coming days.

Meanwhile, a section of the Ghanaian public has described the 2006 Budget as a "friendly" and a "take-of" budget, which should put the economy on a firm footing for rapid development.

This is the first time that a budget is being presented to Parliament ahead of the actual budget year.

According to Nana Agyemang Prempeh, a retired banker of Cooperative Bank, said the budget was "very friendly" because the new tax component, which would positively affect lower income earners.

Mr Baah-Wiredu, in his presentation said the income tax on the minimum wage would be abolished and government was taking measures to improve "the weight of the money in our people's pocket today by reducing the tax burden on pay at all levels."

Nana Agyemang Prempeh said the tax component in the budget was in the right direction, especially for those earning meagre wages. He said, if inflation continued to go down and the economy remained stable, things would work out well for the nation.

Mr. James Adusei-Sarkodie, former NPP member for the Nwabiagya Constituency, said the budget was "industry friendly" and a boost to the private sector.

He said under the budget more jobs were to be created in the new year and more investors attracted into the country.

He lauded government's efforts to invest in the education sector and called for the strengthening of the basic, secondary and technical school system to prepare the youth for the future.

Mr Kwabena Darko, a prominent businessman, said tax relief and the reduction of corporate tax to 25 per cent as announced in the budget was a "good omen" since it would release moneys into the pockets of the ordinary people.

He said: " the budget was a take-off budget, which promote the private sector."

Miss Glora Ofori-Boadu, a member of FIDA and Head of the Women's Assistant Business Association, expressed disappointment that HIV/AIDS was not mentioned in the budget and said it was necessary that policymakers looked at tool HIV/AIDS as it was taking on the health budget.