Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, presenting the 2019 Budget Statement to Parliament, on Thursday, said the Government is on course to transforming the economy, explaining that disciplined economic management the abolition and reduction of taxes, among others, are delivering significant results.
This year’s Budget, the Government has said, is expected to promote infrastructural development, offer more relief and inspire hope among Ghanaians.
“This is a Budget, that will modernise agriculture, protect the vulnerable, that speaks to the needs of hardworking Ghanaians, deliver on job creation, provide opportunities for wealth creation, build infrastructure…,” the Minister said to cheers from the Majority side. He said it was the first Budget to fully incorporate the objectives and targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, in Africa, and second in the world, after Mexico.
Cataloguing some of the achievements of the Government over the past 22 months, he declared, “We’re not going back to Egypt,” to resounding cheers from his admirers.
Spotting in his characteristic white attire and beaming with smiles, Mr Ofori-Atta was received with cheers from the members of the House who had been awaiting his arrival with a lot of expectations.
At exactly 1037 hours, the Minister arrived in the House, with his Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, to present the Budget. The Vice President is the Head of the Economic Management Team of the Government.
The presentation of the Budget is in compliance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution, which required the Government to present the Financial Policy Statement of the country to the legislative house.
It is the third budget of the Akufo-Addo Government since assuming office in 2017 and would also mark the beginning of Ghana’s exit from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, under which the country sought 918 million dollars for over three years with conditions. At exactly 10.20 hours, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Ocquaye, arrived in the Chamber for proceedings to begin.
In the prayer, the Speaker, who is a Minister of the Baptist Church, invoked the blessings of God on the nation Ghana as the House readied itself to receive the Economic Policy of the ruling New Patriotic Party Government.
Members of the Minority National Democratic Congress, despite having raised some reservations about what the Budget would offer, and saying it would send Ghanaians into hell, engaged in conviviality with their NPP counterparts; shaking hands, cracking jokes and exchanging other forms of banter. The Ghana News Agency spotted former Finance Minister Seth Terkper, this time not holding the ‘Economic Gag’ to present the Budget, but to listen as his successor.
Prior to the arrival of the Speaker, there had been a beef up of security, right from the entrance of the main gate to Parliament, to the entrance to the Chamber, where proceedings are held.
Radio and television stations have mounted stands to transmit live proceedings of the House to their audiences and viewers.
The 2017 Budget, first under the ruling government, was tagged as the “Asempa Budget”, the 2018 Budget was termed as the “Edwuma Budget” and the 2019 Budget is being touted as the “Anyidaso Budget”, which literally means hope.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the budget would reflect the hope Ghanaians have in the Government and designed to bring more relief and improvement in the standard of living of the people. It is to maintain the Fiscal Discipline, which has been restored, increase liquidity in the Ghanaian economy and sustain the heightened growth.