Minority vow to squeeze President’s budget

BY: Isaac Yeboah
Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, Ranking Member, Finance Committee of Parliament.
Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, Ranking Member, Finance Committee of Parliament.

Members of the Minority in Parliament say the government failed to demonstrate it has solutions to the most pressing problems affecting the economy - unsustainable debt, hardships, high cost of living, fiscal indiscipline, unemployment, arrears clearance and misuse of public resources – in the 2022 Budget.

They have served notice they will not approve the 2022 budget allocation of GH¢3 billion for the Office of Government Machinery until a number of issues are addressed.

In the first place they are not only dismayed that a staggering GH¢3 billion has been allocated to the office in a struggling economy, they argue that the sum, if approved, will be committed to financing “the opulent lifestyle of the President and his staff.”

The Minority’s comments follow the presentation of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament on Wednesday by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, and they say that an “unjustified and excessive expenditure on foreign travels amidst the hiring of luxurious executive jets will dominate these expenditures.”

“We wish to serve notice at this point that we will demand a full breakdown of all expenditure returns between January and September 2021. We also wish to serve notice, that we will demand prudence and modesty in the use of public resources especially at this time when the people of Ghana are going through such hardships and suffering.

“As a clear demonstration of our resolve, we wish to state that until the National Security Minister appears before Parliament to provide long- overdue answers to questions on the cost of hiring the luxurious jets for President Akufo-Addo's recent travels, we in the Minority will not approve the budgetary allocation to the Office of the President.

“As you may be aware, we have as part of our oversight responsibilities, tabled a motion for a Parliamentary Inquiry into COVID-19 expenditures. We hope to use the opportunity of this inquiry to exact maximum accountability to the very last pesewa from those who expended taxpayers' money during the pandemic. We believe that through this process we can lay down a blueprint for dealing with future emergencies in a structured and accountable manner.”

Click the image below to read or download the full comments by the Minority, signed by Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, Ranking Member, Finance Committee of Parliament.