Parliament begins debate on 2020 budget

Parliament has begun debating the 2020 budget statement and financial policy of government presented to the House last Wednesday by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. The presentation was a requirement of Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21(3) of the Public Financial Management Act, Act 921. After the delivery on Wednesday, the Majority Leader moved that the House began discussions on Monday, November 18. Osei-Kyei Mensa-Bonsu told members, particularly those of the Minority Caucus, to be guided by “pragmatism” and not “propaganda” during debate. Seconding him, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu hinted that the policy statement will be the last for the Finance Minister and the Akufo-Addo-led government. “One uninspiring budget deserves an exit,” he said, making allusion to Mr Ofori-Atta’s “one good term deserves another” statement in his presentation.

On Monday, the debate began as scheduled. Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah began it all by mentioning some of the good aspects of the budget. “Mr Speaker, the exchange rate has stabilized…the up-swings and down-swings, the volatility that we saw under the NDC is no more.” He talked about how the Unemployed Graduate Association, for instance, has been rendered moribund due to the introduction of the Nation Builders’ Corps (NABCo) under the current government. But Ranking Member on the Committee Cassiel Ato Forson said the Finance Minister has a lot more corrections to make to figures bandied about over the past years. “[The Finance Minister has] a number of things you have to correct,” he said. For him, the treatment of the country’s amortisation is “unprofessional” and “unorthodox”. He accused the government of choosing and picking debts to settle in the energy sector.
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