The minority in parliament has described as hopeless the mid-year budget review presentation by finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
The minister in departing from the convention over the past 4 years of demanding more money through supplementary budget estimates, announced plans of the government to create one million jobs, build 111 hospitals, while maintaining all social intervention programs.
“I have had extensive discussions with my colleague Ministers of Employment and Labor Relations, Youth & Sports and Lands & Natural Resources. These conversations culminated in a comprehensive strategy to sustainably address youth unemployment. New programmes will be introduced and existing ones scaled-up and refocused to meet the aspirations of our youth.
“We will work together to sensitize and connect the youth to the numerous opportunities being made available by Government programmes, including a 3-year strategy to create job opportunities for 1 million Ghanaian youth. There are currently about 5 on-going programmes through which we intend to create these jobs,” he said.
But the minority is not in the least impressed. Minority leader on the floor argued announcement by the finance minister government is not asking for more money is as a result of inactivity in the past 7 months.
Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu suggested debate on the presentation be waved since the presentation does not require approval of Parliament. He however indicated government has done well enough for his side to have enough ammunition to take on the NDC during any debate.
Speaking to the media after the presentation, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Samuel Abu Jinapor singled out persons affected by the galamsey fight. According to him, government will provide alternative livelihoods to such people as announced by the finance minister.
Ranking member for Committee on Finance Cassiel Ato Forson stated the presentation is hopeless since there’s no clear strategy towards addressing the rising debt levels.
His deputy Isaac Adongo further painted a gloomy picture of the country’s debt situation.
Minority spokesperson on mines and energy John Jinapor questioned why government gave only 4 percent increase in salary of public servants while inflation is projected above 8 percent.
The majority however disagreed. Chairman for the finance committee Kwaku Kwarteng hailed the decision to maintain all social intervention programs. Speaking to GHOne News, the former deputy finance minister conceded the rising interest payments is concerning.