Business News of 2013-12-05

Parliament approves 2014 Budget

Parliament Wednesday approved the 2014 Budget presented to the House by the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, amid tension and controversy.

The House was thrown into a state of confusion as a result of a clash between the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa, Mr K.T Hammond, and the Majority Leader, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, midway through a submission on the budget.

In his concluding remarks, the Majority Leader touched on corruption, explaining that the perception out there was that corruption was a disease of the political elite.

He, therefore, cautioned both sides of the House against the use of placards with the inscriptions such as "Woyome" and "Drill Ship" since that would send wrong signals to the public.

But the mention of drill ship in connection with corruption seemed not to have gone down well with Mr Hammond who used some unprintable words on Dr Kunbuor against the backdrop of shouts from Majority backbenchers.

When the tension died down, the Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, advised both sides to take a cue from his earlier caution that they could make their submissions without using words that would inflame passions in the House.

Before the debate resumed, Dr Kunbuor showed leadership and withdrew the word "drill ship" and apologised, while Mr Hammond also responded by apologising to the Majority leader.

Thereafter, Mr Adjaho directed that the insulting words used by Mr Hammond should be expunged from the official records of the proceedings of the day.

Majority Leader's Contribution

In his contribution, Dr Kunbuor said the budget should be seen within the context of the regional and global economic situations.

He said the reality was that both the regional and global economies were emerging from challenges that had resulted in the fall of growth to an average of 3.4 per cent.

On the country's debt, the Majority Leader said if the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country was divided by the entire population, every Ghanaian would get $3,700, adding that "that is the wellbeing of every Ghanaian."

Minority Leader's Contribution

In his contribution, the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the situation in the country was getting worse in spite of the President's submission that he had been commended for managing the economy well in many places and at different fora.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu rejected the assertion that the 2014 Budget was a transformational one, explaining that a transformational budget was one that was constructed on solid foundation and provided the bounce to propel transformation.

Mr Terkper's Winding Up

Winding up the debate, Mr Terkper thanked the House for a lively debate.

He insisted that the setting up of the Small and Medium Fund and the Infrastructure Fund, among other initiatives, qualified the budget as a transformative one.