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General News of Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Source: GNA

House begins debate on 2012 budget

Debate on the 2012 budget began on Wednesday with members from Majority and Minority defending their positions based on the current state of the economy.

Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Member of Parliament for Old Tafo, said Ghana was losing GHc600 million in oil revenue at present.

Dr Akoto Osei questioned why the Finance and Economic Minister did not bring report on revenue and expenditure on oil together with the budget on the floor of Parliament to kick start the debate and noted that there were several breaches on the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.

He reiterated the fact that the National Democratic Congress Government failed to implement promises made in the previous budget, adding that there were a lot of non-disclosures of information, data inconsistency, over reliance on Chinese loans among other issues that characterized the financial policy.

Dr Akoto Osei referred to November 18th edition of Business and Financial Times where according to him, the figures itemized in the paper and what was in the budget did not tally.

Mr Ignatious Awuah Baah, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member for Sunyani West, said the government of the day had made unfulfilled promises in the agriculture, industry, electricity and service sectors, adding that if government had met the targets set in all the sectors, he would have presented a balanced budget.

He said the NPP set the pace for the growth of the cocoa industry and that, had it not been the foresight of the NPP, the NDC Government would not have attained the one million tonnes of cocoa.

He said “no one plants cocoa and harvest within two years."

Mr Dominic Nitiwul, Member for Bimbilla, expressed surprise at the government's confidence that the economy was doing well, saying for the years that the government had been in power, the Minister of Finance kept repeating the same things in the budget, referring to pages 29 and 30 of the 2012 budget.

Mr Haruna Iddrissu said all the interventions and programmes mentioned by the Minister when he presented the budget indicated the promises made by the government had assisted in putting the economy on a sound footing.

He said Dr Akoto Osei had been trying to make fetish the good policies of the government, saying the NPP presented nothing but a deficit budget.

Mr Haruna said the 2012 budget was one of possibilities and not just progressive because it was government’s commitment to build a viable sector.