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13.12.2005 Business & Finance

2006 Budget contains holes

2006 Budget contains holes
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Accra, Dec.13, GNA - Dr Nii Moi Thompson of the Institute of Democratic Governance on Tuesday said despite some positive aspects of the 2006 Budget, there were still some contradictions and loopholes that needed consideration. He said although one of the pillars of the Budget was to boost employment, it was silent on how both employment and unemployment data would be captured to inform decision-making.

Dr Thompson was speaking at a forum on the 2006 Budget organized by the Centre for Budget Advocacy of the Integrated Social Development Centre and the Save the Children Fund of United Kingdom in Accra. While welcoming the generous tax concessions in the Budget, Mr Thompson wondered if that would necessarily translate to job creation since about 90 per cent of Ghanaians operated in the informal sector. Dr Thompson said he was also not happy about the contradictory approach by Government towards the realization of the National Identification Card System. He said the Government had so far failed to implement the housing numbering exercise announced in the 2005 Budget as part of the process to move from the mainly cash to credit based system. "It is, therefore, surprising to be told in the 2006 Budget that the system will fully engage the attention of Ghanaians from 2006 and beyond," he said.

Mr Felix Abayateye, Deputy Minority Spokesman on Finance, who touched on the flaws of the Budget, said, the introduction of the National Reconstruction Levy was a burden on the population as the companies, especially those in the banking sector were transferring the cost to customers in high transaction fees. He said the reduction in corporate taxes and tax rebate were areas that favoured the multinationals and those in the high-income bracket. Mr Abayateye also addressed the issue on agriculture in relation to the poultry industry, saying the Budget failed to make provision for those in the sector.

Miss Susan Sabah of the National Coalition for the Rights of Children said children's rights issues were development ones and argued that documents like the Budget must be driven by the quest to fulfil the fundamental rights of the citizenry such as children. 13 Dec. 05

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