The Member of Parliament for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, has described the 2015 budget as much ado about nothing and indicated that it will impoverish the people who are already facing economic hardships.
Dr Ato Arthur said even though the government promised to provide 3,200 CHPS compounds last year, nothing was done and wondered how it was going to provide 100 CHPS compounds as stated by the finance minister.
Sharing his perspective on the just-read budget, he said the government could not complete 50 of the new senior high schools it promised; neither would it be able to build the additional 50 mentioned in the 2015 financial statement.
Hope to the people
He said the budget lacked a transformation agenda and added that it did not give any hope to the people.
Relatedly, the Member for Mampong, Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh, has described the financial statement as an annual rhetoric and a constitutional provision that must be satisfied.
Mr Addai-Nimoh stressed the need to look beyond and see to the application of the statement.
He asked whether the 17.5 per cent special petroleum tax would be substituted or imposed on the ex-pump price.
He also wondered whether the prices build-up would be eliminated since any increases would definitely trigger increase in fuel prices with consequential effects in increase in transport fares and cost of living.
“As of now, I do not see any relief in terms of the cost of living which would be brought to the people in terms of the budget,’’ Mr Addai-Nimoh noted.
According to him, there was so much expectation being placed on oil and gas as a country and by the present government and urged the government to tread cautiously.
Mr Addai-Nimoh reminded the government that revenue from cocoa was not only determined by the world market but also by the level of production and as such should pursue measures such as mass spraying and the provision of other affordable inputs for farmers to increase production.
The Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, who is also the Member for Sagnarigu, described the budget as one that gave hope and was forward-looking.
Alhaji Fuseni said weighed against the challenges such as the fall in the value of the cedi and the falling prices of commodities, the budget was refreshing.
He said with the current macro-economic stabilisation, there could be growth and that impetus was being given to agriculture and industry and that the waver of VAT on certain sectors such as the pharmaceutical industries gave a ray of hope.
He said despite the challenges, the government was able to increase imports from 2.8 months capacity to 3.3 months in addition to the expansion of infrastructure in health facilities.
He mentioned the 600-bed capacity at the University of Ghana Teaching Hospital, the 400-bed Ridge Hospital, the inauguration of the Tamale Teaching Hospital and the 500-bed capacity facility at the 37 Military Hospital, as well as the expansion works at the Tamale Airport meant to raise it to an international standard, works at the Takoradi Port, and the completion of the Atuabo plant as good examples of infrastructural development.
Alhaji Fuseini said while 50 of the new senior high schools promised by the government were at various stages of construction, funding for 123 new ones had been secured.
He said other areas that had benefited from infrastructural development were the universities in the Volta, Eastern and the Brong Ahafo regions and concluded that ‘’far from painting a gloomy picture of the government, one could see that it is not a budget of talk but actual delivery’’.
The Member for Saboba, Mr Joseph Nikpe Bukari said the budget represented a bright future and offered hope for Ghanaians as it was anchored on economic transformation.
He said the special areas such as supporting agriculture with inputs like fertilisers, seed and subsidies and establishment of 41 more agricultural mechanisation centres would boost production in that sector.
He made reference to improvement in health facilities such as the Police and the 37 Military hospitals as further boost for healthcare delivery.
Mr Bukari said an area of interest was the establishment of an Exim bank to enhance exports and imports and called on all to support the budget to become a reality.