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15.11.2005 Business & Finance

Budget is comprehensive, innovative and transparent - Minister

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Accra, Nov. 15, GNA - Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, has described the 2006 Budget as the most comprehensive, transparent and innovative budget ever presented to the nation and that the innovations had made the Budget statement very friendly to the public.

He said Budget comprehensiveness was about submitting a budget that left little or no government revenue and expenditure outside it. Prof Gyan-Baffour said this in his contribution to the debate on the Budget Statement in Parliament.

"In addition and more importantly the Budget in a vivid manner provided in detail all conceivable government revenues and expenditure." On the revenue side, the Deputy Minister said the Budget described all the traditional revenue sources, tax and non-tax revenues including internally generated ones.

"It also for the first time provided in very great detail the loans and grants both for projects and programmes contracted in 2005 as well as those expected to be contracted before the end of the year.

"This detail included the names of all the donors and creditors, the project or programme titles and the amounts disbursed in 2005."

Prof Gyan-Baffour said what was more interesting was that the balance sheet of institutions that handled statutory expenditures like the Road Fund and District Assemblies' Common Fund were all published in the Budget to show how those statutory monies were spent in 2004. "It also captured the formula for HIPC allocations for 2006 explicitly, and this is what transparency means."

Prof Gyan-Baffour said the novelty associated with this year's Budget included the fact that individuals or ordinary Ghanaians were allowed to contribute to its preparation, which in the past had been the preserve of selected few bureaucrats, politicians and institutions. "To further break the myth associated with budgets, a dictionary of technical words and expression usually found in budgets was provided to explain these terminologies to readers."

He said the Budget Statement can now be read with a better understanding than ever before and that all Ghanaians would be able to read and contribute meaningfully to the ongoing debate.

"This is an innovation that engenders transparency and promotes public meaningful participation and eventually real ownership," he said.