Parliament Approves 2018 Budget Despite Minority’s Boycott

Parliament has approved the 2018 Budget and Financial Policy Statement of the Government, which was presented to the house last November.

The Minority did not take part in the voting process to approve the budget. They had expressed opposition to the budget statement after it was laid in Parliament in November.

When the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon Joseph  Osei Owusu, who presided over proceedings in the House on Tuesday after a debate, put the question for the approval of the Financial Policy of the Government, only the Majority side responded to its approval.

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, showed appreciation to his colleagues from both sides of the House for the debate on the budget.

The Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu who had started the debate questioned why some policies and programmes  had been placed under the Office of the President unlike how it was in the previous years.

Mr Iddrisu also served notice of the Minority’s decision to resist the allocation of funds to what he describes as illegal creations.

A former deputy minister for Finance, Cassiel Forson also said the government’s budgetary allocation for the Nation Builders’ Corps was “nothing to write home about.”

He had earlier said on the Morning Xpress that the 100,000 youth to be recruited by government, as the budget stated, would turn out to be paid little over GH¢400, which, to him, was  inadequate.

The Minority Whip and  MP for Asawase later in an interview with the media also , explained the reason behind the Minority’s opposition to the budget as something they had trumpeted for long.

“We had said the budget should be withdrawn because of its inconsistencies. We told them to do corrections and they (Majority) ignored us.  Our claims are in the official records of the House that we the Minority never revised any budget,” Mr Muntaka said.

 New Initiatives in Budget 

The Finance Minister in his presentation of the Budget   announced a special initiative that intends to employ about 100,000 unemployed graduates in 2018.

Under the initiative to be known as, Nation Builders Corps (NBC), in each of the 216 districts is expected to provide jobs for 462 graduates.

He said the NBC, which will be based in the office of the President, will focus on alleviating shortfalls in public service delivery.

Tertiary Graduates under “Revenue Ghana” programme will “mobilize the youth to collect taxes that have been difficult to mobilize and enforce collection,” Mr. Ofori Atta stated. Ghana currently has six million taxable citizens, but only 1.2 million are paying tax.

“The focus of the initiative will be solving public service delivery in health, education, agriculture, sanitation and drive revenue mobilization and collection.”..Finance Minister explained

There will also be “Teach Ghana” and “Feed Ghana” modules under this special initiative.

Presenting the 2018 Budget, themed; “From Stabilization to Work; Putting Ghana to Work Again”, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, reiterated that government is optimistic the initiative will address livelihood empowerment and graduate unemployment to solve economic and social problems.”

He further stated …“Like the Youth Employment Agency, which targets non-tertiary graduates, the NBC has a number of subsets which are connected to other major government targets and initiatives.

On the back of the Sanitation Campaign launch and the anticipated Sanitation Brigade, the Finance Minister noted that, the NBC has made provision for sanitation inspectors under a “Clean Ghana” Programme. These inspectors will focus on enforcing sanitation laws.

Trained nurses and other healthcare workers will provide health care to deprived and rural communities under a “Heal Ghana” module.”