11.11.2005 General News

“Where Is the Good News,” - Minority

By Lens
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While the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu dubbed the government's financial statement presented on the floor of parliament yesterday as "Good News Budget", the minority in parliament in a chorus dismissed the epithet and rather labeled the budget “Azaa Budget”.

The budget, which is the first since independence to be presented before the beginning of the fiscal year expectedly showed all the signs of vagueness that many economic gurus had anticipated. So vague was it that for the first time in the presentation of a budget, the Minister of Finance failed to even hint at the specific growth rate expected at the close of the year.

While government officials hailed the budget as one to implement the government's vision to create a vibrant private sector and an enabling environment to reduce the cost of doing business in the country, leading members of the minority pointed out that lots of what was spelled out were nice sounding but beneath the superficial smooth veneer, there were essentially no policies that would achieve the kind of rapid growth which alone will help alleviate the worsening economic conditions of the majority of Ghanaians who are not in the formal sector of the economy.

Former MP, and aspiring General Secretary of the NDC, Hon Asiedu Nketia said it was all a nice political platform speech, over-blowing the strengths of the government but essentially carrying no new impetus to bring about profound changes in the so-economic conditions of especially the 60 percent of the nation's populace who are within the agricultural sector for example. “The majority of our people are not income earners so unless something is done to alleviate the harsh effects of the hike in petroleum prices, all the tax relief measures announced will mean nothing to them.”

Hon John Mahama among other things lambasted the Minister for citing the recent saga that occurred in the Accountant General's department as proof of NPP's fight against corruption. John Mahama said the fact that the minister could cite no other example was an indication of the terrible situation the government's anti-corruption fight was in. “It is utterly ludicrous to mention that case as a pointer to what government is doing to combat corruption,” he said.

In presenting the budget, Hon. Baah Wiredu had among other things stated that for the first time in the country's history, the government was positioning itself to operate the business of this country for the full 12 months of the financial year instead of the effective loss of three to four months of budgetary operation. “The Business of Government, and therefore the Business of Ghana, can now kick off right from the start of the New Year,” he said.

When the Lens reached the leadership of the Minority NDC, an assurance was given that ! within no time, the minority will come out with detailed explanations as to why they have labeled the budget an Azaa budget.