General News of Thu, 5 Feb 20042
Economic "Think Tanks" absent at budget presentation
Accra, Feb. 5, GNA- Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on Thursday presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy for 2004 in Accra, but significantly missing were the usual presence of diplomats, businessmen, and economic "think tanks".
The public gallery was full of students, public servants and directors from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Others were members of the public who were in Parliament to listen to the budget.
The absence of representatives of these bodies and institutions according to a number of people interviewed by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) was highly felt, as they were "windows" through which the nation could derive independent alternative views and analysis on the budget.
Journalists who were looking out for officials from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IAE), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA) and the Institute of Social Statistical and Education Research (ISSER) were disappointed as none of them could be found around.
" I think perhaps they see the budget as an annual ritual in which they are no longer interested in", some members of the public said. When the GNA eventually found Mr Baffour Agyeman-Duah, Associate Executive Director of CDD, near the Speakers' Block, he explained that the CDD was in the process of organizing a post budget workshop for members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance and other relevant bodies.