Ghanaians on social media have taken a swipe at the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta for his ‘880,000 million farmers’ blunder at the recent 2020 budget presentation in parliament.
The quoted figure as contained in the full budget statement dubbed “Nkosuo ne Nkabom budget, was released by the finance ministry Wednesday, November 13, 2019 after the minister read to the house an abridged version.
“A total production of 1,505,850mt of cereals and legumes and 405,630mt of vegetables with a total value of GH¢1.55 billion and GH¢3.43 billion respectively was achieved between 2017 and 2018 alone. Yields of targeted crops recorded significant improvements over 2016 levels: maize yield increased by 89 percent from 1.8mt/ha to 3.4mt/ha; rice yield increased by 48 percent from 2.7mt/ha to 4.0mt/ha and soya yield increased by 200 percent from 1mt/ha to 3.0mt/ha.”
While some social media users identified the figure as a mistake, others including members of the opposition were not ready to let the moment slide without throwing a jab at the minister.
Deputy National Youth Organiser of the NDC, Edem Agbana in a post on his Facebook page attributed the gaffe to the influence of popular social media sensation, Shatta Bundle, known for claiming wealth in figures as asserted by the minister.
“SHATTA BUNDLE obviously has an influence on our Finance Minister. How can you say we have 880,000 million farmers in Ghana? This is what happens when you COOK figures to impress!.” His post reads.
The post attracted comments from people who felt a good level of diligence would have prevented the error into the final draft of the budget, whiles others who seem sympathetic towards the minister attributed the figure to human blunder, addressing it as a typing error.
“Ignorance! Gross Ignorance. GROSS IGNORANCE!. This exposes the level of incompetence & the lack of due diligence. If you are privy to the exhaustive processes the budget preparation goes through, you won’t refer to an error regarding figures as typo.” A user’s comment reads.
Another user who felt the error could pass as a typing error replied “After going through the budget process, is it still not a human being that will do the final typing? Can't that person make a typo error. You can refuse to see but we know it's 880, 000. The million was just a typo error.”
In a separate post another Facebook user with the name Nana Kesse II posted “I never knew we had over 880,000 million farmers in Ghana …. Thanks to the Finance Minister for the revelation. #ThePowerOLies”
880, 000 million farmers counted in Ghana according to paragraph 257 of the 2020 budget? @NAkufoAddo @MBawumia @konkrumah are you counting armyworms ???????????? or our dear and hardworking farmers of Ghana?— Edward Omane Boamah (@eomaneboamah) November 13, 2019
Stop painting Ghana black.#TheBudget2020 #Budget2020#BudgetLiteracy pic.twitter.com/zn6w0hQvPp