Ofori-Atta’s Agyenkwa Budget to be unanimously approved by Parliament?

Ken Ofori-Atta

After three days of debate on the 2022 budget statement presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, members are set to vote on the policy document on Friday, November 26.

Though there have been public disagreements over some of the taxes introduced in the budget presented by Mr Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, November 17, it is set for approval, 3news.com gathers.

The Finance Minister announced the scrapping of road tolls from the budget and introduced a couple more like the Electronic Transaction Levy, popularly called the e-levy.

Despite the Minority in Parliament initially expressing misgivings about the new taxes introduced in the statement, 3news.com further gathered that the pre-budget workshop held in Ho last weekend as well as the debate on the floor has influenced a softening of its stance.

On Thursday, November 25, Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin, who is also Member for Effutu, mounted a strong defence of the budget, christened Agyenkwa Budget, chiding the Minority for spewing propaganda around the economic policy document for 2022.

“Because you don’t want to listen and because you often forget, I am going to remind you again and again and again.

“Mr Speaker, the NDC administration and all its parliamentarians told us that implementing Free SHS was impossible. That is what you said. I shall contend that you have shamelessly retired from that position you took but today in the midst of Covid, in the midst of all the vices we face, this government continues to sustain such an important social intervention programme.”

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He added that “no matter how you criticise, no matter how you poison the minds of Ghanaians , this government means well. We shall remain resolute [and] we shall not be carried away by your propaganda”.

Earlier in the debate, Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who is also MP for Ofoase Ayirebi Constituency, urged the Minority to approve the budget by way of national cohesion.

“We want to have a conversation with the national agenda ahead of us,” he stated at the start of the debate on Tuesday, November 23.

“This House should approve the economic proposals in the budget.”

He tagged the 2022 budget as answering some of the pertinent challenges facing Ghanaians, particularly the youth.

“What is even exciting is that in this 2022 budget, this administration has made available GH¢1 billion to support young men and women who want to embark on their own business known as the YouthStart initiative. And so, Mr. Speaker, the most important issue on the minds of Ghanaians is being answered by the 2022 budget.”

‘Most inconsistent budget’

But some of the Minority MPs insist this budget holds no hope for Ghanaians.

“The NDC caucus in Parliament isn’t available to be convinced by him to support government’s draconian taxes,” wrote North Tongu’s Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

“We were sent to Parliament by the Ghanaian people not him.”

Former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson describes it as the “most inconsistent” budget in recent times.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana