He has therefore, asked the government not to put every blame on the pandemic.
His comments come after the budget statement for the 2021 fiscal year presented to Parliament by Leader of Government Business Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu indicated that businesses in Ghana were performing before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Majority Leader said government had put in place prudent fiscal measures to grow the economy.
These measures he said, were yielding fruits until the virus emerged to disrupt everything.
“Mr Speaker, three years prior to the pandemic as a government we had a plan. We stayed focused, kept our discipline, kept our promises and worked with integrity, creativity and compassion.
“As a result, the economy saw a turn around and economic gross rate doubled from 3.4 per cent in 2016 to average 7 per cent annually.
“The Banking sector cleanup had been completed, businesses were doing well and creating jobs, food production was growing with bumper harvest and suddenly Ghana had become major tourist attraction.
“We were indeed on a path of fiscal consolidation by 2019. But out of nowhere the COVID-19 Global pandemic hit us.”
The government is proposing in the 2021 budget statement the introduction of a Covid-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to Covid-19.
“To provide the requisite resources to address these challenges and fund these activities, government is proposing the introduction of a Covid-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to Covid-19,” the budget statement presented by the leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said among other things on Friday March 12.
It added that “to leverage other resources to fight the pandemic, Government passed the COVID-19 National Trust Fund Act, (2020), Act 1013 in April, 2020 to establish the Fund. As at 31st December, 2020, the Fund had mobilised GH¢ 57,134,093.58 of which GH¢45,218,313.23 had been utilized.
“These resources complemented Government efforts in providing PPEs and medical supplies to COVID-19 selected institutions, distribution of food items to the aged, vulnerable, and needy persons; providing vehicles to selected Treatment Centres, National Public Health & Reference Laboratories, Testing Centres, and the COVID-19 Central Care Management Team. It also supported the construction of the National Infectious Disease Centre.”
Deliberating on the 2021 Budget statement in Parliament Tuesday, March 16, Mr Ato Forson “Mr Speaker, how can anybody just turn around and come and blame Covid.
“The problem is not Covid, the problem is mismanagement that is what the problem is. It is your mismanagement that has created the mess and you cannot blame Covid.”
He added “Mr Speaker today we are confronted with a situation of government saddling us with public debt. Public debt to the extent that we have to pay with the option that Ghanaians must pay in the form of taxes.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana]]>