The debate on the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government took off yesterday in parliament with the majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) fiercely battling out on whose government is more incompetent or competent.
The majority NPP led by the Chairman of the Finance Committee and MP for New Juaben South, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah and the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah said after the previous NDC government had messed up the economy and left it an economic abyss, the NPP with a competent economic team led by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has been able to pull the economy from the huge mess and stabilized the macro-economy of the country.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee said the NPP government has been able to use two years to clean the mess of NDC’s eight years rule with the economy now put on the right footing for massive industrial and infrastructural development in 2019 to create wealth for the people.
The New Juaben South MP said sustaining macroeconomy stability as well as improving expenditure efficiency and domestic resource mobilization will lead to creation of more fiscal space and provide additional resources to fund the government’s growth-oriented and employment-generating development programmes.
“In order not to allow the NDC reverse or erode the gains made so far in the economy, the NPP government will introduce a new law called the Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure that in the unlikely event that the NDC comes back to power it will not get the opportunity to spend beyond certain thresholds to widen budget deficit and destabilise the economy.”
The Information Minister who is also the MP for Ofoase/Ayirebi, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah said having inherited a shattered economy, the NPP government has been able to stabilize the fundamentals of the economy with the 2019 budget ready to fast-track the economic growth of the country.
According to him, there are about six strategic pillars to move the economy ahead including introducing a comprehensive industrialization plan to add value to natural and agricultural resources and also leverage the rising population of the educated youth.
“Mr speaker, we will embark on massive and unprecedented $2 billion efficient infrastructure including roads, railways and energy to drive our industrialization and agricultural modernization programmes,” the Information Minister said
He said the 2019 budget will strengthen all government’s social interventions in order to ensure that no one is left behind as the economy is transformed.
The minority NDC led by the ranking member of the Finance Committee, Ato Forson, however, said that the 2019 budget did not specify where it was going to get $2 million to embark on that ambitious infrastructural projects stressing that the budget only allocated GH¢4.6 billion for capital infrastructure which is about $1 billion.
The ranking member who is the MP for Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam said the NPP under President Nana Akufo-Addo in two years earned GH¢6.5 billion from oil resources which was the same as what the NDC had in four years under former President Mahama but nothing could be shown for all those moneys.
“In fact, Mr Speaker, the NPP only used all these oil money and the huge money borrowed for only consumption purposes.”
He indicated that that since the NPP took over from the NDC in 2017, it has added a whooping GH¢48 billion to Ghana’s debt stock in two years and that in only one year from November, 2017 to November, 2018, the government had borrowed GH¢32 billion.
“As at the time NPP was taking over the reins of government in 2017, every Ghanaian was owing GH¢4,300 but just in less than two years, every Ghanaian is owing GH¢5,793 because of NPP’s appetite for borrowing”
The NDC MP for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo said the NPP is so incompetent that it could not save seven local banks from collapsing for people to lose jobs.