Member of Parliament for Jaman North in the Bono Region, Hon. Frederick Yaw Ahenkwah has described the 2021 mid-year budget review as uninspiring, saying it involved nothing that was geared at assuaging the suffering of Ghanaians.
The MP, who was speaking to Oheneba Boamah Bennie on Dwaboase on Power 97.9 FM, observed the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, only came to the law-making chamber to reiterate the old promises contained in the previous budget statements.
Ofori-Atta told Parliament that for the first time in the history of the fourth republic, the exchange had been stable after an election year.
He said from the beginning of the year to date, the exchange rate has depreciated by 0.6 percent against the US dollars and appreciated by 3.6 percent against the Euro.
“For the first time in the fourth republic, the exchange rate did not see a spike after an election year.”
He further told the House that
Telling the law-making chamber that he did not come to ask for more money from the House, Ofori-Atta also stated he did not come for more taxes.
“I have not come here today to ask for more money, I have not come to ask for more taxes, I have come to update the house on the performance of the economy for the first half of the year,” he said amidst claps from members of Parliament.
But in a reaction, Mr Ahenkwah said “although the government did not introduce new taxes, I was, however, expecting the Minister to announce policies that will lessen the burden of the ordinary Ghanaian,.”
He told host Oheneba Boamah Bennie that the government did not outline policies that will lessen the frustrations of Ghanaians stemming from tax hikes.
“Today, the government has said inflation is going down but it is not reflecting in the prices of goods and services…Some of my constituents asked me to support them set up funeral grounds so I had to buy cement for them but I was shocked at the price of cement. At Sampa, a bag of cement now costs 50 cedis. If you have 1,500 cedis you can only buy 30 bags of cement, yet in the recent past you could get more bags than that yet we are told inflation is low,” he lamented.
“I don’t understand the concept of inflation under this government because with my basic economics knowledge when inflation goes down, the cost of goods must also go down but at this time the opposite is the reality,” he added.
He rather wants the government to work towards the needs of Ghanaians, especially those in the informal sector to help reduce the cost of living.
Ahenkwah does not feel the economy is doing well under the NPP administration because the government keeps borrowing and adding to the public debt yet there are no meaningful projects to show for the numerous borrowing.
“When the NDC was in power, they said we were sitting on money and asked Ghanaians to vote against us so they can come to power and release the money for development projects but today, we can’t see anything,” he argued, quizzed”why are they not using the money for the projects?”