Rally behind government to get budget approved - Dr Awal urges Ghanaians

BY: Mohammed Fugu
 Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal (right), Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, speaking at the media briefing.  With him is Alhaji Shani Alhassan, Northern Regional Minister
Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal (right), Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, speaking at the media briefing. With him is Alhaji Shani Alhassan, Northern Regional Minister

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has called on Ghanaians to rally behind the government and accept the policy initiatives in the 2022 budget statement for sustainable national development.

He said the country had been facing many challenges over the years ranging from inadequate infrastructure to unemployment, and that it was only comprehensive initiatives and visionary leadership that would help address the situation.

He noted, for instance, the 1.75 per cent levy on all electronic transactions would help the government generate revenue to tackle youth unemployment in the country.

Addressing a section of the media in Tamale last Saturday on the budget statement, Dr Awal said: “The E-levy will give us annually a minimum of GH¢6 billion; that money will go to support infrastructure development and to employ the youth under the 'YouStart' Programme."

Budget rejection

On the rejection of the 2022 budget by Parliament last Friday, Dr Awal said the government would engage the Minority caucus and relevant stakeholders to reach a consensus on the budget statement.

“The budget was not rejected but there was a walkout, we will engage all interested parties and at the end of the day there will be a consensus, we are in a democratic country and we always disagree to agree,” he said.

Tourism

He indicated that the government was committed to developing all major tourist sites across the country to help boost the tourism industry and accelerate national development.

That, he said, would make the tourism sector the number one contributor to Ghana's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create over 250,000 jobs annually for the teeming unemployed youth.

"As we speak now, international arrivals have increased from 200,000 last year to 420, 000 of September 2021.

“Domestic tourism has also improved from 200,000 to about 360,000.

But our plan is to ensure that one million Ghanaians go round the country every year,” Dr Awal added.

For his part, the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Shaani Alhassan Shaibu, called on Ghanaians to be constructive in criticising government’s initiatives, and desist from politicising everything as it would draw the country backwards.