Ghana: Let Budget Debate Run Smoothly

Debate on the 2023 budget in Parliament began yesterday.

While presenting the budget in Parliament last Thursday, the Finance Minister, Mr Ofori-Atta, emphasized that the 2023 Budget and Economic Policy was hinged on a seven-point agenda to restore macroeconomic stability and accelerate economic transformation under the Post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG).

He also mentioned three critical imperatives for the fruits of the budget to be enjoyed in the coming year — successfully negotiating a strong International Monetary (IMF) programme; coordinating an equitable debt operation programme; and attracting significant green investments, which are business practices that have favourable impact on the natural environment.

In our Editorial for November 25, we urged that the government must not be left alone on the journey to restoring the economy to normalcy to bring some relief and joy to the people.

Thus, we prayed every adult citizen and resident to do all they could to help the government meet the projections in the budget for the whole country to enjoy the benefits.

However, we know that it takes only Parliament to sanction the implementation of the budget, so its debate is very important.

It is, therefore, worrying that at the commencement of the debate, not many MPs were in the chamber because previous days of commencement of budget debates had always seen high turnouts.

That aside, it is more worrying that the Minority has openly declared, even before the debate will gather momentum, that they are going to reject some of the projections.

We believe that they have all the right to make suggestions for alternatives rather than just rejecting those items.

We, thus, think that the Minority should heed the appeal by MrsAbenaOsei-Asare, a Deputy Minister of Finance, to them to support the measures proposed in the budget to lift the Ghanaian economy from the doldrums it finds itself in.

The minister and MP for Atiwa East is right in saying that it is not in the interest of any political grouping to frustrate the government’s efforts to repair the impaired economy.

If it is true that more Majority MPs were absent from the chamber at the start of the debate, then they were also frustrating efforts to repair the ailing economy.

We know that the debate on the budget usually lasts four days and it is adjourned at the moment of interruption on each day and starts again the day the House next meets.

Is the ‘absenteeism’ or lateness not going to interrupt the debate?

On Sunday, former President John DramaniMahamaspoke as a statesman by appealing to all Ghanaians to shelve all partisan and parochial interests and support the government to revive the economy and this wisdom all must embrace.

MPs should note that they are the representatives of the people and their voice when it matters most, so any failure to acquit themselves creditably in the current responsibility would spell doom for the whole nation.

And if that happens both the generation today and those yet to be born would not forgive them.

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