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Parliament approves supplementary budget
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Business News of Thursday, 27 August 2009

Source: GNA

Parliament approves supplementary budget

Accra, Aug. 27, GNA - Parliament on Thursday approved a total of GH¢252,790,947 as Supplementary Budget for 2009 laid before it last Tuesday by Dr Kwabena Duffour, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

The debate that ensued before its approval lasted for almost six hours as members from both sides disagreed on some items in the Budget Statement.

Mr James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman of Finance Committee, who presented the report said there had been consistent reduction on import duty exemptions for the past six months, which yielded GH¢180.2 million, as against an estimate of GH¢209.1 million.

He said government had also tasked the Cus toms, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Value Added Tax (VAT) Service and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to put up measures that would increase revenue through reduction in tax exemptions.

The Chairman said government had revived the economy through prudent measures such as exemptions and reduction of imports, which had equipped local industry and stabilized the Cedi for the past months. Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei, Ranking Member on Finance, stated that the Minister was not fair to the previous government by using phrases such as "the NPP government ran down the economy" among other allegations. He said when the NPP government took over in 2001, inflation was 50 per cent and as at the time the party left office, it went down to 18 per cent, while minimum wage, which was 42 pesewas, went up to GH¢2.20.

Mr Moses Asaga, Member for Nabdam said depreciation of the Cedi against the dollar that galloped at the beginning of the year had stabilized due partly to the NDC government prudent management of the economy.

He said subsidies for fertilizers for farmers in the country served as a good platform for farmers to improve on their production, while 43 dams were also being constructed in the three northern regions. Mr Ernest Debra, Member for Tano North refuted the claims that the subsidies on fertilizers were instituted by the NDC government stating "I was the Minister for Food and Agriculture when we instituted 50 percent subsidies for fertilizers and I wonder why you should arrogate such an important feat to yourselves".

He said it was also unfair for the NDC government to claim credit for revamping the Aveyime and Nasia rice farms, when it was a fact that NPP administration "repackaged" those areas before leaving office. Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority leader, said he did not understand why government should claimed to be performing better when salaries of Ministers have not been paid and District Assembly Common Fund have been slashed.

He appealed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to subsequently use an acceptable language that would isolate his presentations from real political rhetoric.

Mr Alban Bagbin, Majority Leader, said the NPP was also claiming to have performed creditably well in their first year in government, because Dr Kwabena Duffuor, who is the current Minister of Finance was then the Governor of Bank of Ghana.

He commended members for rigorously debating the issue in the interest and betterment of the country and hoped that subsequent issues would receive similar support.

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