Dr. Ato Forson
It must be hypocritical on the part of the Minority Leader, Dr. Ato Forson, to describe the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government presented to Parliament last Wednesday by the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta as empty.
That must have explained the reason why when the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr. Alexander Afenyo-Markin got on his feet he screamed, “Eiiii, Ato, is that you, when you had the opportunity to serve as a Deputy Minister of Finance under John Mahama what did you do? It was during your tenure that we experienced about five years of dumsor.”
We are wondering whether in this competitive political game, our politicians would seek some consensus around the national economy such that we can agree to disagree and thus make better progress than we are making now as a country.
An economy projected to grow beyond two percent in 2024, GDP of one trillion cedis for the same period and expenditure of over 200 billion cedis cannot be said to be on “a stretcher.”
There are other incentives such as eight tax reliefs, salary adjustment for public sector workers and support for flood victims across the country.
Someone too from beverage producers association said ignorantly that when we need food the government is talking about tax relief for electric car imports. Such a person may not have heard about the global demands of energy transition that requires that as a country we prepare towards that imperative in the energy sector.
As Parliament gears up to debate the budget, we make a plea. And that is simple. For once both sides of the divide must give praise where it is due and criticise the government where it has failed, but they should not end with the problems. They must prescribe the solutions to take us out of the woods and make life more comfortable for all Ghanaians.
We must set a better tone from this budget for a better engagement of the Majority and Minority. To achieve that too, we need an umpire who sits in the middle to steer affairs in the national interest. It is the people who suffer when our MPs focus on the next elections instead of the public good.
What the NPP government has done so far, cannot be said to have set the economy on an exponential growth path. But its efforts cannot be said to be for want of trying.
The economy is growing and that is what the Finance Minister alluded to when he said the country’s GDP has risen from a little over 200 billion Ghana cedis to one trillion Ghana cedis next year.
The economy is challenged, but it is not a failed economy. As the debate kick-starts in the days ahead, we expect the NDC to tell us the reasons for John Mahama’s decision to seek policy credibility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015. We are not going to allow the NDC to throw dust into the eyes of the people, but we would encourage the people to demand the comparison based on the evidence on the ground.
The debate on the economy would not be mere propaganda. It would be based on facts and figures to help the voters to make informed decision in 2024.
The government has turned the corner to provide Ghanaians with the much needed relief.