Parliament on Tuesday approved the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 2023.
This was after a heated debate between Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, witnessed by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on the floor of the House, in Accra.
On November 24, the Finance Minister presented the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government to Parliament, on behalf of President Akufo-Addo.
The debate on it began on November 28, with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Majority, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority arguing it out on the benefits to, and ramifications on, the economy.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted that even though the nation was currently facing challenges the NPP were better managers of the economy than the opposition NDC. He said the NDC’s track record in managing the economy was the most horrible.
He reminded the Minority that until the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s economic development was one of the best and that was the reason the nation witnessed consistent gross domestic growth.
“It is why the theme for this year’s budget is “Restoring and Sustaining Macroeconomic Stability and Resilience through Inclusive Growth and Value Addition,” the Majority leader said.
“This is the essence of the Nkabom Budget, complementing one another at this crucial time to ensure the unity and stability of our dear nation Ghana.”
“This Nkabom Budget is not of the same order as the ‘Nkabom Aban’ or Union Government, which was strongly rejected by Ghanaians.”
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu entreated all Ghanaians to team up to rebuild the nation, knowing that they were one people in one country with a common destiny.
Mr Iddrisu, who started the concluding debate, said Ghana was in crisis, and the only good news was that the President himself had admitted it.
He said the economy had been terribly mismanaged in the last five to six years by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Administration leading to their request for a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to renew confidence and policy credibility in economy.
The Minority leader said the economy had been characterised by unsustainable debt, very high inflation, unprecedented depreciation of the cedi, high budget deficits and credit rating downgrades.
“The economic situation is so bad that we are currently ranked side by side with Sri Lanka, which is considered the worst economy in the world and has defaulted on its debt.”
Touching on the nation’s debt restructuring, Mr Iddrisu said in less than two weeks of presenting the Budget to Parliament, the Finance Minister, on December 5, announced the government's debt restructuring but noted that the form and structure of the programme was unacceptable to the NDC Minority.
“We simply cannot agree to this as it has dire consequences on the financial sector, on pension funds and on jobs. We are all at risk,” he said.
Concerning the depreciation of the cedi, Mr Iddrisu said its continuous depreciation was worrying, adding; “The cedi has performed so badly that even the NPP’s propaganda can no longer defend it.”
He said the size of government must be reduced and referring to the elephant symbol of the NPP, he appealed to President Akufo-Addo to “simply reduce the size of his elephant government.”
“That is the real big thing to do. There are more ministers, unnecessary deputy ministers and unwanted political appointees. Let them go home.”