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No Light No Water: Solution Missing In 2013 Budget


No Light No Water: Solution Missing In 2013 Budget

The 2013 Budget statement of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was yesterday presented to Parliament by the new Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terkper, with very little hope of reviving the crippling economy which is faced with serious energy and water crises.

The budget offered no solution to the biting water and power (dumsor dumsor) crises confronting Ghanaians, as the minister only mentioned long-term solutions, giving indications that Ghanaians were in for the worse.

The budget, themed ‘Sustaining Confidence in the Future of the Ghanaian Economy’, with suffocating deficit and struggling agricultural sector, which is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy, really did not inspire any confidence in the future of the economy.

The Minister only said cogent measures would be put in place to resolve the economic challenges the country is facing.

Interestingly, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament who had boycotted all major events of the current government in Parliament, were fully represented at the budget presentation.

According to the minister, the expectation of government was that the agricultural sector would have grown by 4.8 percent, but the sector grew by just 2.6 percent as against the growth of 8 percent under the NPP government.

The minister however said the main objective of the government in the agricultural sector is the use of technology to improve the sector and that key interventions would be the adoption of livestock production technologies, agricultural mechanization, irrigation development, subsidies on fertilizer, seed improvement, quality standardization and the implementation of modern buffer stock management techniques.

The Finance Minister told parliament that the overall budget balance on cash basis was a deficit of GH¢8,648.7million as against targeted deficit of GH¢4,669.0 million in 2012.

On the mounting debt stock of the country, which the opposition NPP said was a recipe for economic disaster, the minister said the country’s debt increased from GH¢15,350.08 million in 2011 to GH¢18, 832.77 million by the end of 2012.

Debt Stock

Currently, the total debt stock of the country stands at GH¢33.5billion in just four years of NDC rule, as against GH¢9.6 billion when the NPP was leaving office in 2008.

According to the minister, a combination of factors including the reduction in the availability of concessional funds as a result of the Euro financial crises, contributed to the increase in non-concessional borrowing to finance infrastructure projects being undertaken by the government.

“The increased public debt was also due to issuance of longer-dated domestic debt instruments. Government in 2012 raised loans to the tune of about $2,286.2million ($2.2 billion), of which $1,089.75 was concessional and $1,196.49 was non-concessional to implement various infrastructural projects like the gang of four roads in the nation’s capital, construction of the Eastern corridor roads, gas processing plants, the Wa Government Hospital project, rehabilitation of the Western railway line”.

On the Oil and Gas industry, the minister said the total volume of oil produced in 2012 was 26,351,278 barrels, representing an increase of 8.9 percent over the 2011 production.

He said the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was able to lift crude oil five times on behalf of the state, amounting to 4,931,034 barrels which yielded GH¢978.27 million.

On taxes, the minister said the government would harmonise the various tax laws in 2013 and that the following tax laws, Revenue Administration Bill; the Value Added Tax Bill; the Income Tax Bill; Customs Bill and the Excise Bill would be put before parliament this year.

“In line with our social democratic principles, personal income taxation will continue to be used as a measure for equitable distribution of income and also for the protection of low income earners.”


The minister gave the assurance that the Nsawam-Suhum-Apedwa road in the Eastern Region, the Tetteh Quarshie-Madina and Madina-Patang roads in Accra, Berekum-Sampa and Wenchi-Sampa roads in the Brong Ahafo Region, Bomfa Junction-Asiwa-Bekwai road in the Ashanti Region, Sefwi Bekwai-Eshiem-Asankragwa road and the Asankragwa-Enchi road in the Western Region and the Navrongo-Tumu road in the two Upper regions, would be completed.

The Minister said the priority of the government was to invest heavily in social infrastructural projects like schools and hospitals in 2013 and that the government would build 50 new community day schools this year as part of its promise to build 200 community day senior high schools across the country.

He said a draft bill would be put before parliament for the establishment of a new university, University for Sustainable Environmental Development and Research, in the Eastern Region.

The minister boasted that the government had provided school uniforms to basic school pupils and 108,000 laptops to some privileged students across the country.

He said on the whole, the government had pushed the economy to a higher growth, and maintained relative economic stability in the midst of the turbulent global financial crisis.

He said the administration of President John Mahama would remain faithful to NDC’s ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ and the philosophy of social democracy.

Minority Vindication

The Minority Leader, Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, said the budget had vindicated the minority on its ‘True State of the Nation’ press conference.

According to him, members on the minority side were very much ready to debate the budget and scrutinize it for the benefit of Ghanaians.

Speaking to DAILY GUIDE on the budget after its presentation, the NPP MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, expressed great disappointment about the minister’s refusal to talk about the serious energy crisis facing the country, saying the budget did not give any hope to Ghanaians.

“I was utterly surprised that the minister did not touch on serious issues like the energy crisis and how the problem could be resolved”.

His colleague NPP MP for Abuakwa North, J.B. Danquah Adu, also said a major policy in relation to trade and investment which would increase investors’ confidence in the economy was missing.

The NDC MP for Sagnarigu, Alhaji A.B. Fuseini, however said the budget inspired great hope and was in line with the vision of the “Better Ghana Agenda” and that massive investment would be made in infrastructural development which would help grow the economy.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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