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General News of Thursday, 14 November 2019

Source: Daily Guide Network

We’ll not overspend in 2020 - Government

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in presenting the government’s budget for 2020 in Parliament yesterday indicated that the government had made enough provisions in the budget to give all the deliverable resources to the Electoral Commission (EC) to enable it to conduct free, fair and successful general elections in December 2020.

He said despite being an election year, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government would maintain strict fiscal discipline in order not to overspend like what the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) did for votes, thereby leaving huge expenditure arrears behind and bringing the economy on its knees. The 2020 budget has earmarked GH¢85.9 billion for expenditure.

The Finance Minister pointed out that the NPP government recognizes the fact that overspending in every election year always throws out of gear any economic gain made within the four-year term and that is why the government has introduced Fiscal Responsibility Act, with a legislation to help government spend within any budgeted expenditure for any ensuing year, including election years.

According to him, through the implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the establishment and operationalisaton of Fiscal Responsibility Advisory and Fiscal Stability Councils have complemented several other institutional and structural reforms to strengthen fiscal discipline and ensure irreversibility of economic gains and policies.

Nana Re-election

He said that with the massive social intervention programmes coupled with the economic gains made so far, Ghanaians would definitely reward President Akufo-Addo with another term in 2020 to consolidate the gains made so far by the present administration.

“We shall work within appropriation not because we are complacent but because we want to maintain the gains we have made so far,” he said. “One good term of Nana Akufo-Addo deserves another,” he told parliamentarians to a huge ‘hear, hear’ from the majority NPP members

“This competent government of Nana Akufo-Addo came into office with a plan and we are delivering according to our plan,” he said, stressing that in President Akufo-Addo, Ghanaians know what they voted for; that is, strong, decisive, intelligent, focused and compassionate leadership to create equal opportunities for every Ghanaian and bring prosperity to all Ghanaians.

According to him, under the previous NDC government, many parents were suffering because they could not afford to pay school fees for their children to attend senior high school but thankfully, the free SHS policy introduced by the NPP government has provided relief for parents.

“We have abolished fees for post graduate medical training in Ghana,” he said, stressing that hundreds of young people who could not live up to their dreams of becoming trained teachers and nurses can now realise their dreams because of the re-introduction of nurses and teacher trainee allowances.

“Tens of thousands of our young graduates from the universities and technical universities who did not realise their dreams of getting jobs are now being employed under NABCO which has so far employed 100,000 graduates. To reduce the rate of unemployment generally in the country, this government has recruited 350,000 people in the public sector in the past three years, including teachers, nurses, security personnel, forestry and NABCO,” he added.

He, therefore, challenged the opposition NDC to show or tell Ghanaians any social intervention it introduced during its eight years in office. He said Ghanaians would not allow the monumental gains made under the Akufo-Addo administration to be reversed by voting for the incompetent John Mahama administration again.

At the end of the presentation of the budget statement, the whole House was turned into ‘opera square’ with the Minority NDC members chanting “Oye den a JM beba” and “Bye byeoo, bye bye NPP”, while the Majority NPP members also sang “Asem papa bi a mate, Oye” and “JM ye oguanfun”.

The debate on the budget by parliamentarians will commence on Monday, November 18.

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